Credit Suisse clawing back bonuses from staff who left years ago

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Credit Suisse clawing back bonuses from staff who left years ago

Credit Suisse is not only upsetting current staff with its bonus clawbacks, it's also going after people who left the bank before its horrible year even happened.

As we reported last week, Credit Suisse is clawing back 34% of previous years' deferred bonuses paid in the form of performance shares. Insiders say that the clawbacks appear to have been disproportionately focused on salespeople and traders in what was formerly known as the global markets division, and that shares that vested in February 2022 were also affected. There is deep grumbling about the situation internally, even though it's (perhaps) inevitable given Credit Suisse's investment bank made a CHF3.7bn ($7.9m) loss last year.

What seems less fair, but may also be inevitable, is that Credit Suisse is also seizing unvested bonuses from people who left the bank a few years ago and who were happily retired. They didn't have anything to do with Archegos, or the loss, and were counting on their shares vesting as a source of income in their semi-dotage.

"While I was planning my exit from the bank, the deferred was certainly a very large part of the calculation in terms of living expenses," says one Credit Suisse markets professional who retired in 2020. "34% of what I had left is quite a hit, combined with the fact that Credit Suisse stock price continues to underperform. It's clearly not what we'd hoped for or expected."  

Credit Suisse declined to comment on the clawbacks, which are in line with the conditions of the award. These conditions say that bonuses are clawed back if the bank makes a loss of more than CFH1bn, and that if the loss hits CHF4bn then 60% is clawed back. On this basis, the 34% clawbacks might even be considered generous.

Credit Suisse's former staff do not see it this way. "If left Credit Suisse two years ago," says the retiree. "I didn't even work there in 2021!"  He says there's some talk of Credit Suisse making amends to former staff and that he will "certainly join" a proposed class action lawsuit against the bank if not.

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Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

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