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The City vs Canary Wharf: Credit Suisse people will be glad (probably)

There are more changes in store for the few Credit Suisse people who've been hired by UBS. Financial News reported yesterday that they're being asked to vacate the Credit Suisse office in Canary Wharf and to migrate to the UBS office in Broadgate.

They should be glad, says one UBS trader who's worked in both locations. Credit Suisse's Canary Wharf office at 1 Cabot Square was completed in 1991 and is decrepit compared to the UBS office at 5 Broadgate, which was completed in 2015 and is in the heart of the City of London.

"There's no comparison," he says of the two offices."UBS offices are way nicer and way newer." This niceness includes leafy terraced areas, which aren't quite as big as Goldman Sachs' Farringdon roof garden, but are more than was on offer in the grey office at Cabot Square.

Broadgate also has the benefit of other human beings. "Canary Wharf is deserted," says one Credit Suisse director. "There's no one left - my guess is that the occupancy is down to 20% or below." It's not just Credit Suisse; HSBC is leaving in 2026, 15.5% of Canary Wharf offices are already empty and the area is transforming into a residential zone. 

And yet, if you've structured your life around commuting into Canary Wharf, working in Broadgate could be disruptive. "When you live in Essex, Canary Wharf is great," says the Credit Suisse director. "For £2m you can get a big house with a pool and a tennis court somewhere like Loughton, Basildon, Harlow, Hornchurch or Upminster, where the schools are good. The same money gets you 2,000 square foot and a small garden in South West London." 

It may not matter. Improved transport connections mean that people are mostly ambivalent now about working in the City or Canary Wharf. "Some people used to be grumpy about working in Canary Wharf but it's not an issue anymore, particularly now that people are spending part of the week at home," says Barney Mundell at search firm Loxley Partners. 

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Photo by Evgeny Klimenchenko on Unsplash

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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