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Cost cuts to spell hiring freeze?

Credit Suisse is reportedly tightening its purse strings and ABN AMRO is said to have imposed a recruitment freeze. Has the hiring year come to an abrupt end?

"Certainly some of the banks have put a hold on their numbers," Andrew Chancellor, director of recruitment firm Robert Walters Associates, tells us. "ABN has done that, as has another European bank, but it's nothing untoward. It often happens at this time of the year as banks reevaluate numbers and look at where the business is."

An ABN AMRO spokesperson tells the bank is looking "critically at hiring decisions," but has not imposed a hiring freeze per se. Separately, the Financial Times today reports that Credit Suisse is urging staff to pull back on colour photocopying, office supplies and equipment, staff parties, and client entertainment. It's unclear whether Credit Suisse is the other bank looking at staffing costs, however.

"Managing our expenses is both a critical part of our strategy and our jobs," the FT says Brady Dougan, head of investment banking at Credit Suisse told staff in an internal memo. "You can do your part by challenging all spending to ensure that it is necessary."

Credit Suisse is certainly not the only one counting the pennies - earlier this year Jamie Dimon, the cost conscious JP Morgan chief executive, told the Lexington Herald Leader he was cutting company gyms on the grounds that they were used by only 3% of the bank's staff.

Whatever its origin, Credit Suisse's policy may not augur well for bonuses. Chancellor says: "The Swiss are now really taking control over it, and the Swiss are fairly conservative on most things."

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