LONDON — Before the 2008 financial crisis, jobs in investment banking and trading were the most sought after by young people interested in finance.
But tougher capital rules and bonus restrictions, as well as weaker economic growth in the US and Europe, have taken the sheen off these areas and caused large banks to change their business models.
Credit Suisse is a good example, cutting back in markets and switching focus to private banking, particularly in the Asia Pacific region.
So what is it like for a young person working in a bank like Credit Suisse in 2017?
Henri Etchegoyen, pictured right, is one of the Swiss lender’s private bankers in London. He is a relationship manager, tasked with building up a UK clientele and looking after existing customers. Here is how his typical working day goes:
Meet Henri Etchegoyen, 28, pictured here in the Credit Suisse office cafe. He joined the bank as an intern, working his way up to analyst, and finally relationship manager in the private bank. Henri went through an 18-month training programme in Zurich, taking both internal exams and tests from the Financial Conduct Authority to be approved for the role.
On Mondays, Etchegoyen gets into work for an 8 a.m. meeting at the Credit Suisse Canary Wharf office after a commute of around 45 minutes. At the meeting, the private banking team gets a markets update and discusses investing strategies and ideas.
After that, Etchegoyen often has a lot of external meetings both with prospective clients and existing ones. Many of those take the form of coffees and lunches around Mayfair, where Credit Suisse has a private banking office.
Etchegoyen’s main task is to build a book of business, convincing wealthy individuals to let Credit Suisse handle their money. He mostly focuses on UK entrepreneurs and says word of mouth is key to expanding the client base.
If Etchegoyen is not in Mayfair or elsewhere in the City meeting clients, he has got Credit Suisse’s enormous canteen to grab lunch from.
You load up your canteen card with credit…
… and then go charging around the different food venues. The “taste theatre” dominates the space as the centre of the canteen.
There is a whole load of deli meats.
As well as cheeses and pickles to go with them.
There are lots of healthy salad options.
And not-so healthy pastries.
Chocolate galore — here is the Cadbury’s Easter spread.
The canteen is decorated with plenty of inspirational slogans and phrases, like this one.
If he is in the office in the afternoon, there might be a bit of internal admin to get through, and because Etchegoyen is providing investment advice to clients, admin for the FCA as well. Etchegoyen says one of the biggest hurdles he has to overcome for adding clients is how young he looks. Despite passing the CFA exams, which are some of the most rigorous in the financial world, clients can often equate age with expertise.
Etchegoyen’s usually done for the day around 6 p.m., although recently it has been busier than normal and he has worked until 9 p.m. a few times. There are often client events in the evening – the bank has a box at the O2 arena for entertainment and sponsors the National Gallery’s Michelangelo exhibition.
If there are not any events, Etchegoyen might hit the Credit Suisse gym, which is one of the largest corporate office gyms out there. It has got the full range of weights, classes and whatever these things are (some form of cardio equipment).
There is even a swimming pool.
As well as four full-sized squash courts.
With a tournament seating area.
And an executive-looking locker room with wood panelling.
And, like the canteen, the gym is full of inspirational quotes.
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