Despite Credit Suisse seeing a sizable -$2.4 billion loss in 2016, the group has opted to expand its bonus pool at a time when the industry seems to be contracting. The lender announced a bonus pool expansion of 6.0 percent, a move that clearly is running counter to the strategy being deployed by other banks presently.
Credit Suisse recently made headlines for further rounds of cuts – these losses were restricted to jobs in its Asian equities desks, as well as another 5,500 positions forthcoming. These announcements also followed the loss, which cast a shadow on its 2017 outlook.
These factors were not enough to deter Credit Suisse’s top brass however, with their bonus pool actually growing in 2017, including a sizable bump for CEO Tidjane Thiam, according to a Bloomberg report. Other lenders have chosen a different course, such as Deutsche Bank, having gutted its bonus pool or opting for different payout strategies in the form of shares.
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To be fair, Credit Suisse is in the midst of its restructuring plan, with Mr. Thiam pledging a turnaround for the lender. Like its other European counterparts, lenders have struggled to restore profitability, also grappling with the upcoming Brexit schism that is unlikely to yield any positives for the banking community, especially in the UK.
One reason for the strategy of expanded bonuses may be a bid to help retain its top tier talent. One issue that cropped up in its year-end report were problems of retaining their talent – indeed, Credit Suisse has seen an exodus of premier banking and trading veterans, not unlike other lenders over 2016.
Such a carrot could be, at least during a time when all rivals are slashing bonuses, an enticing option for those seeking greener pastures.