It’s 1984! Orwellian directive at Credit Suisse bans execs from talking about Brexit

Credit Suisse, the fourteenth largest interbank FX dealer by global market share, has issued a somewhat Orwellian instruction to its staff which orders them not to attend or arrange client events where the potential exit from the European Union by Britain may be discussed. In addition to the ban on attending or arranging such client […]

Credit Suisse bans execs from talking about Brexit

Credit Suisse, the fourteenth largest interbank FX dealer by global market share, has issued a somewhat Orwellian instruction to its staff which orders them not to attend or arrange client events where the potential exit from the European Union by Britain may be discussed.

In addition to the ban on attending or arranging such client events, staff at Credit Suisse have been instructed not to talk about the forthcoming referendum on Britain’s EU membership – often referred to as the ‘Brexit’ in public.

The memorandum, the ethos behind which is remeniscent of George Orwell’s image of a dystopian society in which open discussion and potential thought processes with regard to otherwise everyday matters were centrally controlled, was issued by Credit Suisse Chief Financial Officer David Mathers, and Adrian Radcliffe, the General Counsel for Global Markets in Europe.

According to Bloomberg, the instruction read “Examples of potentially restricted activity include issuing advertisements or communications directly to the public relating to the referendum.”

Credit Suisse employees have been ordered to avoid any conversation or meeting where the Brexit “is on the agenda or may be raised in questions and answers”.

Indeed, just two months lie ahead until Britain casts its vote on whether to remain in the European Union or not, and many opinions are now being publicly aired by senior industry officials.

The action by Credit Suisse represents a more distinct version of Bank of America’s instruction to staff recently which prohibits them from using the word ‘Brexit.’

Credit Suisse interbank FX operations stand proud among peers in Canary Wharf, London E14, the heartlands of the global interbank electronic trading sector, however last year the company suffered its first annual loss since 2008, and staff reductions totaling over 4,000 have been authorized by CEO Tidjane Thiam, as well as a 36% bonus cut for executives.

The bank is very prominent across all global markets, however with its origins in independent, fiscally strong Switzerland and its electronic trading division firmly ensconsed within London’s eFX heartlands, it is perhaps a moot point as to what interest the firm has in preventing any form of conversation, or hearing any conversation, about a forthcoming major geopolitical event.

Photograph: Cabot Square, Canary Wharf, London E14. Courtesy of Diliff

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