A strange story appeared at the weekend. It has the makings of a John le Carré novel, or a tale of spurned and obsessive love. There are spies and a relationship gone wrong. There's also Credit Suisse and an ex-star employee who joined UBS.
The ex-employee in question is Iqbal Khan, the former 43 year-old Credit Suisse wunderkind, who increased profits by 80% in two years as head of Credit Suisse's International Wealth Management business and who is said to have had his eye on the job of Tidjane Thiam, Credit Suisse's CEO. Thiam is said to have not liked that, and so Khan took his talents elsewhere. After resigning in July he's due to join UBS on a CHF4m sign-on bonus on October 1st.
This could have been the end of the story, except Credit Suisse seems to have been suspicious that Khan - who was admired for his youthful charisma - would start an exodus. The bank isn't commenting on what happened, but according to a story that initially surfaced on the Zurich website Inside Paradeplatz last week, Credit Suisse had Khan followed by detectives when he returned from a holiday with his wife and son.
The detectives can't have been that sneaky because Khan reportedly noticed a car containing three men following him after taking his son to football training and driving into central Zurich. Swiss website Blick, reports that Khan and his wife went to the restaurant Metropol , where the three men got out the car. Khan quickly took photos of both them and the car's number plate with his mobile phone. Instead of running away or hiding behind fake moustaches, the men then attempted to seize his phone, which resulted in a 'violent' scramble witnessed by several passers-by.
Khan called the police. However, as he's technically still employed by Credit Suisse, he also called Credit Suisse's security service, which offers personal protection to the bank's employees. And yet the German website FAZ subsequently claimed that the three detectives were, in fact, hired by Credit Suisse's security service in the pay of Credit Suisse. Khan is now pressing criminal charges and Credit Suisse looks a bit like a coercive spurned lover.
Presuming it was Credit Suisse who hired the detectives, what was the motivation? Faz says Credit Suisse suspected Khan of breaching the terms of his contract and trying to lure other CS employees to UBS with him. The bank allegedly hired the detectives in an attempt catch him meeting Credit Suisse employees.
This may not be the end of the matter. There's all kinds of speculation as to what Khan knows and how he managed to avoid the standard Credit Suisse six month notice period for senior staff and start at UBS just three months after leaving. Khan is pressing criminal charges, but he's not the only one resorting to a legal process. - Credit Suisse is allegedly thinking of launching its own legal action because it says Khan acted in breach of the terms of the termination agreement. Inside ParadePlatz notes that Credit Suisse takes these things very seriously - last year, Marcus Illy, another Credit Suisse banker was due to join UBS but Illy was found referring a Credit Suisse customer to UBS during his notice period and Credit Suisse kicked up a fuss. Illy's transfer to UBS didn't happen and he ended up with no job at all.
Separately, senior finance people have been sharing the wisdom of their parents. In an interview with Bloomberg, Marty Chavez Goldman's ex-CIO, CFO and co-head of securities said his mother's mantra was, “I’m just going to do what I know is right, I’m going to do my thing, and trust that it’s going to work out.” And in an interview with the Financial Times, Steve Schwarzman said he took after his mother, “a very formidable, strong survivor,” and not his father, "a lovely, super-bright but not ambitious person” who ran a linen store in Philadelphia. Chavez also said that traders who can't code are going to go extinct and Schwarzman also said that he likes to do, "things that are beautiful."
London IPOs are on track for their worst year in the past seven. Blame Brexit. (Financial News)
A rogue trader at Mitsubishi in Singapore lost $320m. (Financial Times)
Bankers are suited to running restaurants. "“In banking, I went through all-nighters, mission-critical stuff—you have to have the temperament." On a restaurant, “when it’s getting very busy, everything falls apart, and you have to handle the stress.” But.."“It was hard to be motivated for anything less than $50,000...Now, as the owner of midsize restaurants, I’m more focused on counting pennies—$50,000 is a ton of money in this world for me.” (Bloomberg)
Meanwhile, in the repo market: “I don’t care what anyone says, no one thought this was going to happen...It was insane.” And: “The damage is done; the market has been burned..The Fed needs to be concerned about what is going to happen at year-end.” (Financial Times)
David Solomon, CEO of Goldman Sachs, launched a record label called Payback Records, in partnership with Big Beat/Atlantic Records. (Business Insider)
It's not easy working for Airbnb: 'Waiting for the start-up to go public has become a growing source of stress, many said, preventing some from making career changes, starting a family or moving on with their lives.' (New York Times)
It's not easy working in Silicon Valley: "I have seen an increase of people in tech feeling more hopeless. They often say, ‘I don’t know if my job is helping anybody,’...People who want to change the world and have good energy around it — I’m seeing a lot of them come in saying: ‘I don’t know. Does it matter?’” (New York Times)
Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: email@example.com in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available.
Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)