Morning Coffee: Senior banker takes ultimate revenge on former boss. Fund manager's new empathy training

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Gael de Boissard

If you were paying attention yesterday, you will have read a story about revenge: there was that jilted girlfriend of a banker in the Bahamas who drove his Mercedes into a pool.  This is nothing, however, compared to the calculated vengefulness of Gaël de Boissard, the former co-head of Credit Suisse's investment bank.

De Boissard has had a fine old time since leaving Credit Suisse in December 2015. After taking a five month skiing trip to Greenland he declared he'd become a commercial airline pilot. Then he did what every former banker with some money does, and became a fintech investor. Now he's appeared in another and more malevolent manifestation as the supporter of a plan to break up Credit Suisse. He's baaack, and it's probably all a bit unnerving for De Boissard's former boss, Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam.

De Boissard didn't work under Thiam for long: Thiam joined in June 2015 and De Boissard exited six months later. However, the two men may not be the best of friends: De Boissard was one of several nominees for the CEO job and his "retirement" from Credit Suisse seemed curiously close to Thiam's arrival.

This is not to say that revenge is necessarily De Boissard's driving ambition. What he wants, rather, seems to be for Credit Suisse's investment bank to be detached from the rest of the group and free to do its own thing. The Financial Times says that RBR Capital Advisors, the activist hedge fund backed by De Boissard wants to split the bank into three so that it comprises an investment bank called "First Boston," an asset manager, and a wealth management group including the retail and business banking operations. Thiam hasn't commented on the plan, which is intended to give a boost to Credit Suisse's limp share price. Invigorated by all that skiing and retirement, however, De Boissard is ready and waiting and has reportedly told RBR that he's, "standing by to help."  Maybe Thiam should've kept De Boissard close, rather than giving him time to regroup? A complex job running the "bad bank" might've been a good idea.

Separately, Fidelity has got some new training apparatus. Finextra reports that the fund manager has been giving its customer-facing associates using virtual reality headsets that transport them into customer's kitchens. The headsets allow them to see customers' facial expressions as they try solving queries and lets them lurk around to see how customers react once the phone has put down. The exercise is intended to improve empathy with the customers. If it catches on, expect salespeople in investment banks to be transported to hedge funds so that they can see clients deriding their trade suggestions.


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