"Credit Suisse was the best place I ever worked. UBS was 2nd rate by comparison"
I've been in fixed income sales and trading for several decades, and during that time I have worked at both the world's leading Swiss investment banks. Now that they're merging, I can say that categorically that one is better than the other. And it's not UBS.
Credit Suisse was the best place I ever worked. When I was at the bank a few years ago, it was truly entrepreneurial and the energy and the drive on the floor were amazing. This is why so many ex-Credit Suisse people are sad about what's happened. Credit Suisse was a really nice employer. Although the Credit Suisse culture is much maligned, the bank really wasn't that bad and a lot of the staff there were of very high calibre.
UBS is completely different. It's not a bad place to work, but the culture is completely different. While Credit Suisse had an entrepreneurial and almost American investment banking spirit (if you had good ideas and innovation you could drive things forward), UBS was/is a tank.
When you work for UBS have to function like you're in an army. The spirit at UBS (at least in the fixed income sales and trading business) is much stiffer and more uptight. UBS was rescued in the financial crisis and is still paranoid about getting things wrong. Innovation is not encouraged.
This is why a lot of Credit Suisse veterans who join UBS don't much like it. In fixed income sales and trading especially, Credit Suisse was by far the better bank with solid markets DNA.
The problems at Credit Suisse stemmed from Tidjane Thiam's amateur restructuring efforts and closure and crimping of vital teams. A lot of Credit Suisse veterans moved to UBS a few years ago for this reason. Not many of them stayed.
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