May 24, 2023
Santander Targets Dozens More Credit Suisse Hires in M&A Push
(Bloomberg) -- Banco Santander SA is aiming to poach dozens more Credit Suisse Group AG dealmakers as the firm looks to seize on a rare chance to rapidly expand its talent base, particularly in the US.
Spain’s biggest bank is in talks with Credit Suisse merger advisers and capital markets bankers beyond the eight managing directors it’s already hired, according to people familiar with the matter. The new senior hires will look to bring teams of junior bankers under them, meaning the number of fresh employees may climb into the dozens, said the people, asking not to be identified because some deals haven’t yet been signed.
Santander, led by a Credit Suisse veteran in Chief Executive Officer Hector Grisi, sees an opportunity to fast-track its dealmaking expansion, including in the US corporate and investment bank where it has targeted 20% annual growth. The firm is offering generous compensation packages and preying on the uncertainty triggered by Credit Suisse’s pending sale to UBS Group AG.
Spokespeople for Santander and Credit Suisse declined to comment.
The recruitment effort is being led by head of corporate and investment banking José Linares and Darren Jones, the global head of banking and corporate finance, according to the people. Santander ranked 27th in advising on global mergers and acquisitions in 2022, up from 41st three years earlier, and had about $800 million in revenue at its US CIB last year.
“One of our big success stories has been our corporate and investment bank, which today is about 30% of Santander’s profit, it’s been growing,” Santander Chairman Ana Botin said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Tuesday. “So we are always looking for talent. It grew 30% last year, from everywhere, we brought people in from all different banks and we’ll continue to do that because we need the best. If we can attract them it means we are doing something right.”
Credit Suisse’s mergers and acquisitions chief Steve Geller and David Hermer, global head of equity and debt capital markets, are among the eight senior bankers leaving for Santander, Bloomberg reported earlier this month. The Spanish bank also said last month it hired Christiana Riley from Deutsche Bank AG as its regional head of North America.
Credit Suisse has started handing out retention bonuses to staff whom UBS sees as critical for the future of the combined bank, Bloomberg reported last month. Credit Suisse flagged in April that the limbo period had “already increased our employee attrition.” With UBS steering the integration, some Credit Suisse bankers are concerned that top positions would land with their UBS counterparts, some of the people said.
Linares said in an interview published in January that the Spanish lender would seize any chances to hire Wall Street bankers laid off by larger rivals as it seeks to expand in the US. The ex-JPMorgan Chase & Co. banker has been leading a drive for growth in US investment banking after Santander’s acquisition of broker Amherst Pierpoint Securities LLP.
“I see this as a great opportunity,” Linares said. “We have a business that is growing, and we should, therefore, take advantage of the market situation where that makes sense.”
--With assistance from Liana Baker and Macarena Muñoz.
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