Credit Suisse boosts IT staff

Investment bank Credit Suisse has increased its workforce by 1,600, including IT staff, since the beginning of last year – as it turned in an increased profit.

In its results announcement for the end of the first quarter, the group said it had 48,300 employees overall, up from 46,700 at the same time a year ago.

The bank said that the growth was mainly in its IT department, alongside its sales force for fixed income, prime services and cash equities in its Investment Banking division. The number of IT staff primarily grew in the group’s Investment Banking and Private Banking divisions, as the bank focused on systems in those businesses.

In November, the bank said it was more than doubling the size of its offshore outsourcing centre in Mumbai to 350 staff by next year, Reuters reported. It also signed a deal to implement “accelerated trading and market data technology”, from specialist UK-based supplier Celoxica, in order to tackle high-volume and algorithmic trading.
Last week, Credit Suisse reported a profit of CHF 2.08 billion (£1.25 billion) in the first quarter, up from CHF 884 million (£532 million) in the final quarter of 2009. The group recorded total operating expenses down four percent to CHF 6.08 billion (£3.7 billion) in 2010, from CHF 6.3 billion (£3.8 billion) in the same quarter last year.

Efficiency savings were offset in part by a nine percent increase in general and administrative expenses, which was partly attributed to higher professional fees and increased investment in IT.

However, in terms of its divisions, only Investment Banking and Asset Management managed to reduce their total operating expenses, to CHF 3.5 billion and CHF 465 million respectively, compared with the same period a year ago. Private banking and the ‘Corporate Centre’ both increased their costs, to CHF 1.99 billion and CHF 132 million respectively.

In Credit Suisse’s Private Banking arm, IT investment was cited as a primary reason for the division’s general and administrative expenses growing by five percent, compared with the same period last year. Asset Management’s general and admin expenses dropped six percent compared with Q1 2009, but the division cited a focus on making investment in technology.

In other news at Credit Suisse, earlier this month the bank was fined £1.75 million by the Financial Services Authority for system and control failures that resulted in inaccurate transaction data being reported.

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