22 January 2019
Credit Suisse has reported its first full-year loss since 2008, missing estimates. Photo: Bloomberg
Credit Suisse has reported its first full-year loss since 2008, missing estimates. Photo: Bloomberg

Credit Suisse plans faster staff promotion to retain talent

Credit Suisse will establish a fast-track program for top-performing investment banking executives in the junior levels as part of its efforts to attract and retain talent.

The investment bank told analysts on Thursday that it would make changes to its promotion cycle in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, bringing it in line with the United States where the practice was introduced in summer 2013, sources told Reuters.

A spokeswoman for Credit Suisse confirmed the plans.

The program, due to start in July, will enable top-performing analysts – the first rung on the investment banking ladder – to become associates in just two years rather than three, meaning they can reach vice-president level after five and a half years rather than six and a half years.

Credit Suisse’s moves are part of a trend among investment banks Deutsche Bank told staff in October it would shift its promotion cycle so analysts move up after two years rather than two and a half, sources told the news agency. Deutsche Bank declined to comment.

Citigroup Inc. plans to announce a similar initiative related to junior bankers in the coming weeks.

“Citi considers talent to be among our highest strategic priorities. We have conducted an extensive, holistic review of our talent management practices, and we plan to announce some inspiring changes and enhancements in the coming weeks,” a bank spokesman said.

“Promoting people more quickly is a retention tool as the chances of the superstars leaving become slim,” said Jeanne Branthover, leader of global financial services at executive search firm Boyden in New York.

“If you’re aggressive and good you’ll be promoted faster and you may not want to leave.”

Before the global financial crisis, pay packets were larger and promotion time frames more flexible.

But since then banks have been struggling to retain juniors, who have been increasingly lured into other industries including technology and private equity, in search of shorter hours and higher wages.

Regular rounds of redundancies at banks in recent years and the lengthy working hours of junior bankers have dented banking’s allure.

As banks grapple with very low interest rates and an uncertain economic environment, they have resorted to cost controls to boost profits.

Credit Suisse this month reported its first full-year loss since 2008, missing estimates, partly due to a big impairment charge at its investment banking business.

The Swiss lender said it has accelerated cost savings and is cutting around 4,000 jobs.

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