Awards for excellence - Credit Suisse First Boston
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Awards for excellence - Credit Suisse First Boston

The world’s most improved debt house

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Credit Suisse First Boston continually astounds onlookers with its innate ability to assemble the right ingredients, fail to mix them together properly and yet still be able to salvage something from the result.

CSFB's debt businesses ought to be in disarray given the past 18 months' upheaval. In early 2000 the bank folded the elephant-hitting, kill-what-you-eat culture of Credit Suisse Financial Products into the more relationship-oriented CSFB. Then its asset-backed team decamped en masse to Deutsche Bank, forcing a rebuild from scratch.

At the end of August, CSFB bought DLJ, partly for its leveraged finance prowess. Within a month the team came very close to leaving for HSBC.

To cap it all, in February more than 40 high-grade bankers, many of them senior managers including Jack DiMaio and John Walsh, accepted offers to join Barclays Capital. They were unhappy at having Stephen Hester as boss - he was appointed last summer, having been CFO beforehand. But CEO Allen Wheat, promising a change in structure as well as a change in pay, persuaded them to stay.

The aim has been to create a fully integrated debt division across all products from loans and short-term debt through high-yield and high-grade to structured products.

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