Credit Suisse to double its staff in China over five years

August 31, 2020.

has plans to double its number of Chinese employees in the next five years, as it continues to target the ultra wealthy in the region, a spokesperson for the Swiss bank said on Monday

The move to increase its workforce comes as the bank plans to target a 100% increase in revenue in the country, spokesperson Sebastian Kistner said, confirming a Sunday report by Bloomberg. Credit Suisse’s China securities venture, which offers wealth and asset management, among other services, had 154 staff members at the end of last year. 

The China business will focus on expanding advisory and investment banking services for the ultra wealthy in the mainland, the spokesperson confirmed. This is part of the bank’s larger plan to double the contribution to revenue growth from the ultra high net worth strategic clients over the next three years, Kistner said. 

“China is our strongest focus when it comes to headcount and infrastructure growth compared to any country in the world,” Helman Sitohang, Credit Suisse’s APAC CEO said in an interview with Bloomberg. 

“The worst of COVID’s impact on the region’s business activity is behind us,” Sitohang said of Asia. 

Credit Suisse wants Asia to make up 25% of the firm’s revenue in the next years, from 17.5% now, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter. Kistner declined to comment on this. 

The Swiss bank is one of the many global companies trying to take advantage of China’s decision to open up its financial sector to foreign players. It has already begun to up its leadership game in the region over the past year. 

In April, the approved Credit Suisse’s move to become a majority shareholder of Beijing-based Credit Suisse , a venture it has run with Founder Securities since 2008. Following the approval, the bank in July named Tim Tu as CEO and Daniel Qiu as head of investment banking and capital markets for the joint venture, which offers capital markets services such as sponsoring and underwriting A-shares to clients in the domestic Chinese market. 

The bank also recently hired Wang Jing to head its wealth management business in China, nabbing the hire from China Merchants Bank, Kistner confirmed. 

Other global firms that have made similar expansions into China, include , which received approval in March to take a majority stake in its China securities joint venture, Morgan Stanley Huaxin Securities Company, increasing its holding from 49% to 51%. That same month, received approval to increase its ownership of Goldman Sachs Gao Hua Securities Company from 33% to 51%.

On Friday, received approval from Chinese securities regulators to create a mutual fund company in China and last week, the company, with and China Construction Bank, received approval for a joint wealth management venture. 

Credit Suisse is also not the only major global financial services looking to staff up in China. In January, Goldman Sachs said it planned to double its headcount in China to 600 by 2025, according to Bloomberg. And in December, Reuters reported that Swiss rival also planned to double its investment bank business headcount in China over the next three to four years.  

Last week, Credit Suisse also said it may cut 500 jobs as it reconfigures its Swiss operation. However, Sitohang told Bloomberg there are no plans to cut any jobs in China, since the region’s workforce is “lean enough.”

“The capital released doesn’t happen overnight, but the efficiency that we expect on the cost side as well as on the capital side will be deployed back into the wealth management,” he said. “Asia will be a priority.”

--Additional reporting by Patrick Hoff