Morning Coffee: Credit Suisse guy who escaped decides he made a mistake. Leaving for a hedge fund before Christmas

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Morning Coffee: Credit Suisse guy who escaped decides he made a mistake. Leaving for a hedge fund before Christmas

Francesco De Ferrari is not your average finance sort. Both academically gifted and a devout Catholic, he was left with a conundrum when he graduated towards the top of the class from New York University's Stern School of Business in 1989: aged 20, he had an offer from Goldman Sachs, but he also felt a calling to go to India with a priest. De Ferrari never turned up to his Goldman analyst program and spent time working with lepers and the dying on the streets of Calcutta instead. 

De Ferrari may not have taken up his place at Goldman Sachs, but he didn't have his head permanently turned by priesthood either. After six months in India, he came back to the U.S. and worked variously for Deloitte & Touche, for Nestlé and for McKinsey & Co. It was at McKinsey that he first encountered Credit Suisse: De Ferrari completed a project for the Swiss bank. It went well, and he was invited to join CS full-time in 2002. He stayed 16 years.

After over three years away, De Ferrari has now been called back to the Swiss bank. Credit Suisse - which has developed a serious habit of rehiring people it let go - announced yesterday that De Ferrari, who was previously its head of private banking for the Asia Pacific region, will be returning in a far bigger job next year. He'll be in charge of the entire wealth management division; he'll also be head of Europe on an interim basis. 

It's a move that suggests that absence can make ex-employers grow fonder, particularly if the ex is Credit Suisse. It also shows that life outside Credit Suisse might not be quite as easy as insiders hope. 

De Ferrari spent August 2018 to April 2021 as CEO of Australian investment manager AMP, a role he was selected for on the basis of his ability to deal with "very significant complexity." For De Ferrari, AMP was all about a new challenge. A package of AU$11.7m+ ($8.7m) spread over 3.5 years presumably sweetened the deal.

Fixing AMP wasn't quite as easy as expected, though. - When De Ferrari joined, the share price was at AU$3.45, and he was promised AU$6m in extra rewards if it exceeded AU$5.25. When he left in April 2021, it was closer to AU$1.08. There was a scandal when it became apparent that the man promoted to run the investment management arm had been penalized for sexual harassment of a colleague. The share price just kept falling. The Financial Times describes De Ferrari's time away as "bruising."  By comparison, Credit Suisse must have looked appealing. And, given that he was out of the market, Credit Suisse was presumably able to pick De Ferrari up for cheap. 

Last time he worked for Credit Suisse, De Ferrari was in Singapore. This time, he'll be in London and Switzerland, so things won't be exactly the same. Nominally, he'll be helping to manage the investment bank in Europe. - Yesterday's announcement also suggested the head of the investment bank, Christian Meissner, will be staying in New York City for the foreseeable future.

Separately, the promise of an imminent HSBC bonus isn't enough to stop some people from leaving. As we reported yesterday, HSBC's head of equity sales has embarked upon something new (possibly involuntarily), and now its global head of flow credit has departed entirely of his own volition for a hedge fund.

After 12 years at HSBC, Mitesh Gupta is reportedly joining hedge Brevan Howard. He could have hung on a few months for his 2021 bonus, but obviously didn't think it worth the while. 

Meanwhile...

A Christmas present for UBS. It will now have to pay only $2bn for helping wealth clients evade French taxes, $5bn less than previously stated. (WSJ

Upset at Binance in Singapore: it's closing the local office and redeploying "staff globally depending on strategic needs" following clashes with regulators. (Financial Times)  

The UK's Financial Conduct Authority is struggling with a wave of vacancies and has spent £1m on headhunters this year. It's also having to hire law firms to help it process applications. (Financial Times) 

Andrea Orcel's new office at Unicredit contains a granite statue that looks like a live wolf, but Orcel himself has become less predatory and more relaxed. “Feeling that if you make a mistake you are out, if you challenge something you are out, makes people lose track of what we stand for. It’s OK to make mistakes, within the rules, recognise them and move on. We want to trust and empower our people or we can’t go anywhere, because you can’t control everything.” (Financial Times) 

Wil things really be any easier for junior bankers in 2022? Jens Welter, head of investment banking for Emea at Credit Suisse, says: “The combination of measures, such as protected leave, financial incentives and larger incoming classes of recruits, coupled with flexibility to return to work from the office, will reduce attrition." (Financial News) 

Citadel hired Jo Biden's top secret service agent, David Cho. (Business Standard)

Having declared that everyone would be back in the office by Labor Day, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman admits he was wrong. “Everybody’s still finding their way and then you get the omicron variant; who knows, we’ll have pi, we’ll have theta and epsilon, and we’ll eventually run out letters of the alphabet. It’s continuing to be an issue.” (CNBC) 

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