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"I'm leaving UBS because it's mediocre compared to Credit Suisse"

I was a senior technologist at Credit Suisse. I was given the option to move to UBS, but am taking a job elsewhere rather than moving down a tier. 

In my opinion UBS is not an investment bank; it is a wealth manager. Compared to Credit Suisse, I find it slow and steady, and mediocre. 

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In my opinion, this approach is particularly visible in the UBS markets business and in the technology that supports it. At Credit Suisse in the US, we were run as an investment bank. We had the investment bank pedigree and culture. We understood that we needed to be paranoid to survive; we were lean and fast moving. 

At UBS, there are layers of administration. The technology teams are run by people who have never been developers themselves, who do not roll up their sleeves and do the work themselves when it needs to be finished. To me, it felt like working somewhere in 2009. 

 

Yes, Credit Suisse collapsed and UBS didn't, but may of the errors that led to Credit Suisse's collapse were reversible. The closure of the Credit Suisse prime business was a knee-jerk reaction; it could have been remedied. We had good technology and a strong culture. Poor senior management let us down. 

This is why senior Credit Suisse people are going. It's not that UBS is a bad place to work; it's just that it's a different kind of environment. At UBS, things are run by groups and committees and it's difficult to establish who has personal responsibility for anything. At Credit Suisse, we were at SWAT team and we were the best. We had resisted the malaise that comes with being part of a large, Swiss, bank. 

This is why a lot of people on my team are leaving and joining algorithmic trading firms or hedge funds. We have that option. I suspect that many at UBS do not. 

Bruno Allard is a pseudonym. This is one individual's opinion and does not reflect the opinion of eFinancialCareers

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AUTHORBruno Allard Insider Comment
  • Wh
    Whew
    12 May 2024

    It is a matter of difference of culture and vision.

    You find UBS mediocre for being risk-averse while UBS considers risk-prone culture (like one in Credit Suisse) toxic since their 2008 and 2011 crisis. A sentiment strengthened with what happened to Credit Suisse now.


    Also this article is contradictory in so many levels.

    > Poor senior management let us down. 

    > This is why senior Credit Suisse people are going. 


    So let me get this straight. You accept that senior management in Credit Suisse was flawed and that their decisions led to the bank's failure. As it turns out, UBS does not support same vision.

    Yet, you are lamenting that Credit Suisse people are leaving because UBS doesn't want to share the same vision that led to CS's failure? Why is Credit Suisse's culture inherently superior to UBS? On what basis?


    > This is why a lot of people on my team are leaving and joining algorithmic trading firms or hedge funds. We have that option. I suspect that many at UBS do not. 


    So much inherent superiority and disdain. Yeah, you have the option, but -and you may be surprised to know- so do people in UBS.


    > At UBS, things are run by groups and committees and it's difficult to establish who has personal responsibility for anything. At Credit Suisse, we were at SWAT team and we were the best


    On one hand, you say you took personal responsibility in Credit Suisse. On the other hand, you take 0 responsibility in the article. Everything was the fault of senior management, nothing to do with the community supporting it. Everything was reversible, no introspection needed.

  • PP
    PPE
    14 November 2023

    I don't think you'd be moving down a tier staying with your new owner.


    I feel CS roleplayed these "SWAT" startup-like teams well, but all that for what exactly ? To end up being bought for peanuts because that's all anyone thought it was worth in the end. It's normal UBS doesn't focus on your desire to build fun toys: it understands banking is a serious business, and risk is the core resource to milk.


    There will be a lot of work to weed out the toxic CS culture at display here, and a lot of patience to explain to these new members that now, they'll have to work in a bank.

  • CS
    CS IT BA
    13 November 2023

    Oh my god, this is so true, I work in IT at Credit Suisse, the UBS IT team is incredibly incompetent, and their management is clueless. And they treat us very poorly, like 'we own you' and the way they talk to each other is so degrading! But their HR department thinks it is fairytale land, where all is wonderful. I am not sure I want a job with this company.

  • SD
    SD1989
    9 November 2023

    That kind of know-it-all culture explains why CS fell in my humble opinion. It doesn't surprise me as a majority of "succesful" (by their own standards) CS alumnis have it. Surprisingly, once you remove excessive leverage and put some controls and risk limits in place, they can't deliver.


    UBS has some advantages due to its status in wealth management that does provide quite interesting flows.



  • Ka
    Kandid
    9 November 2023

    What a shortsighted attitude! “We had the investment bank pedigree and culture. We understood that we needed to be paranoid to survive; we were lean and fast moving”. Apparently not!!! Having been a senior manager at CS, it was this type of gung-ho attitude that led to the downfall of CS! I think UBS will be a much stronger organisation without the type of individual that yearns for the type of environment where they can take all sorts of risks!

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