Credit Suisse Shrinks Currency Team in Fixed-Income Unit Cuts

May 13, 2014 11:27 am ET

May 13 (Bloomberg) -- Credit Suisse Group AG is eliminating jobs in its foreign-exchange team as part of an effort to shrink the bank’s fixed-income division, people with knowledge of the matter said.

At least six employees in foreign exchange in the U.K. and New York are being offered so-called redundancy packages, where they are told their jobs are at risk of being cut and given a set period of time to find other positions within the Zurich- based bank or leave, according to the people who asked not to be identified because the decisions weren’t public.

Daniel Wise, the head of spot trading in London, Mark Astley, a director in foreign-exchange strategy, and Monika Dasani, a London-based saleswoman who worked with hedge funds, are among those to have been offered the packages, the people said.

Credit Suisse combined its foreign-exchange business with its commodities and rates operations in November. Since then, the bank has been shrinking that division amid what it called in an April 16 presentation “weaker client activity” and “structural changes” in the industry. The bank is seeking to cut costs by about $200 million within the group, along with reductions in leverage and risk-weighted assets, Chief Financial Officer David Mathers said at the time.

Drew Benson, a Credit Suisse spokesman in New York, declined to comment on the moves.

Another member in the Global Macro Products group also got a redundancy offer and one resigned, one of the people said.

Biggest Drop

This month Credit Suisse fell the most spots in Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc’s annual survey ranking the top 20 currency dealers. The bank dropped four rungs to 12 as its volumes declined 1.63 percent, Euromoney said in releasing the report.

“We were never really that large of a player in the foreign-exchange markets,” Chief Executive Officer Brady Dougan, 54, said last month during a conference call with analysts. The investment bank will focus on its “market-leading and high returning businesses” including equities, underwriting, advisory, credit securitized products and emerging markets, he said.

Wise, who is based in London, joined Credit Suisse in 2011 from Barclays Plc, where he led European foreign-exchange spot trading, according to one of the people. Astley joined Credit Suisse in August after nearly 20 years at the Bank of England, according to his account on LinkedIn Corp.’s website.

Wise, Astley and Dasani declined to comment when reached by telephone.

Rigging Investigations

Global banks’ foreign-exchange trading businesses are in upheaval as regulatory probes of alleged manipulation of benchmark rates push firms, already under pressure to cut costs, to displace workers and shift to electronic platforms. Credit Suisse’s cuts weren’t directly prompted by the investigations, two of the people said. Still, the departures add to more than 30 traders who have been fired, suspended, taken leaves of absence or retired from 11 firms since October, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Credit Suisse is among eight banks being investigated by the Swiss Competition Commission -- one of the first regulators to review manipulation in the $5.3 trillion-a-day currency market after Bloomberg News reported in June that traders colluded to rig benchmark WM/Reuters rates. At least a dozen authorities around the world are looking into the matter.

“We’ve been cooperating,” Dougan said on the April analysts call. “And so far, we haven’t seen any material issues in our business.”

--With assistance from Dakin Campbell in New York and Elena Logutenkova in Zurich.