Credit Suisse is making another 2,000 people in its global markets business redundant. If you're trader who loses your job, what do you? Until recently, you could've always have reinvented yourself as an "intelligence" specialist at the Swiss bank.
The Financial Times reports that Credit Suisse has an "intelligence unit of former foreign exchange traders." What do the intelligent FX specialists do? Your guess is as good as ours - but it almost certainly has something to do with keeping an eye on traders' messages and personal trading activity.
The bad news is that this exciting opportunity has passed. Seemingly dissatisfied with the intelligence provided by its FX trading team, Credit Suisse has instead teamed up with Palantir, "a secretive Paolo Alto-based group" sponsored by the CIA. Working with Palantir, the bank plans to develop a new product that will track aberrant activities, such as trading using internal accounts or the use of "cancel and correct” trades. Matched with data on things like cell phone usage and door key-card swipes, this will help Credit Suisse detect staff engaged in anything untoward. In this way, the bank will monitor the behaviour of 1,000 traders and 4,000 relationship managers globally. Ex-FX traders are truly redundant after all.
Separately, when Jes Staley announced his strategy for Barclays earlier this month, he said that he wanted the bank to "accelerate the elimination of the non-core unit" in 2016. It's a shame, therefore, that Marcus Schenck, CFO of Deutsche Bank, told German paper Boersen-Zeitung this week that winding down non-core units is proving tough at the moment. In a comment that doesn't bode well for Barclays, Schenck said unloading unwanted assets isn't easy as anticipated because there are few counter-parties. The wind-down of Deutsche's non-core unit is behind schedule as a result.
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