UBS begins Credit Suisse’s exit from Canary Wharf

UBS is moving Credit Suisse from the Canary Wharf building of the bank that collapsed. This will be a major blow to London’s financial district which has already lost HSBC , a landmark tenant.

Credit Suisse London staff received a memo Tuesday informing them that they would be moving to UBS UK’s head office in London. People familiar with the plans say that all staff are expected to leave Canary Wharf before the end of the year.

UBS agreed six months ago to rescue Credit Suisse in the largest bank takeover since global financial crisis.

The memo stated that “in an effort to bring together the first teams in one shared building we will soon begin moving colleagues to 5 Broadgate, and exiting several floors at One Cabot Square.”

Our real estate strategy includes consolidating our real-estate footprint in order to bring our colleagues together to strengthen the way we engage our clients and employees.

Credit Suisse’s decision comes at a challenging time for Canary Wharf after HSBC left its 42-storey headquarters in the dockland financial district after 20 years to opt for smaller premises in City of London.

One Cabot Square’s extra floors will increase the amount of Canary Wharf offices on the market that are being rented by former tenants. Barclays appointed agents this year to market approximately half a million sq ft in one of their buildings, after moving its staff to the nearby headquarters. This was part of an ongoing adjustment to its office space.

Since Covid-19, the large open floors and towers in the Docklands are no longer in demand as companies choose centrally located offices that offer perks such as roof terraces in order to entice reluctant employees to return to on-site work. According to CoStar, the office vacancy rate in Canary Wharf is higher than other London districts, at 14%. This compares with only 11% in the City, and 6% in the West End.

Financial News was the first to report on this memo. It also confirmed that UBS has begun replacing Credit Suisse signs in UK and Guernsey with UBS ones.

UBS has begun the process of removing Credit Suisse’s international branding in New York, but is yet to decide how to proceed with the brand of the bank in Switzerland. It has confirmed that it will keep and subsume the domestic business from its former competitor.

Michael von Clemm was the chairman of Credit Suisse First Boston and the man who conceived the Docklands Financial District, Credit Suisse, as one of its first tenants.

Since 1991, One Cabot Square is the UK headquarters of Credit Suisse. However, in recent years it has reduced the size of the building due to a decrease in staff. The Swiss lender occupies nine of the 21 floors in the building.

Credit Suisse sold One Cabot Square in 2012 to Qatar Investment Authority, but leased it for a long time until 2034. The building was refurbished just before Covid-19, and the executive floors were spruced.