Credit Suisse Filed Claim Against UBS Over Staff, WSJ Says

  • Arbitration claim filed over hiring of private-bank employees
  • Hurts transfer of Credit Suisse business to Wells Fargo: WSJ

Credit Suisse Group AG has filed an arbitration claim with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority alleging that a unit of UBS Group AG unfairly poached staff from its U.S. private-banking business over the past several months, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

The claim with the Wall Street self-regulator was filed even as Credit Suisse winds down the U.S. unit at which the financial advisers worked, the Journal said. About 70 of the 300 brokers from that division left for UBS in recent months, the Journal reported, citing the person familiar with the matter.

Gregg Rosenberg, a spokesman for UBS, declined to comment, as did Michelle Ong, a spokeswoman for Finra. A Credit Suisse representative didn’t respond immediately to a request for comment made outside U.S. business hours.

The departures to UBS have hurt a plan to transfer U.S. private-banking business from Credit Suisse to Wells Fargo & Co., the Journal reported. The largest U.S. bank by market value struck a deal in October with the Swiss firm to smooth the recruitment of its private-bank employees as part of Credit Suisse’s planned retreat from managing wealth for American clients.

A Wells Fargo spokesman didn’t respond immediately to a request for comment.

The deal with Credit Suisse would allow its U.S. advisers and clients to move by early next year to Wells Fargo, which is planning to build up in wealth management, the smallest of its three main divisions. Meanwhile, Credit Suisse is shifting strategy under new Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam, who is seeking to bolster returns by focusing on its home market of Switzerland and expanding in Asian wealth management.

While the Wells Fargo deal was intended to make it easier for Credit Suisse advisers to shift companies, those who make the move must remain at the U.S. lender for 13 years to earn the full payout of bonuses tied to the agreements, people with knowledge of the arrangement said earlier this month. That’s longer than the industry’s typical nine-year deal, they said.

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