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Credit Suisse CEO plays down impact of EU, Swiss pay curbs

The logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen on a building at Paradeplatz square in Zurich, February 13, 2013. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer
The logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen on a building at Paradeplatz square in Zurich, February 13, 2013. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer

ZURICH (Reuters) - Credit Suisse chief Brady Dougan does not see major problems from Swiss plans for strict curbs on executive pay, nor is he concerned about warnings of an exodus of bankers due to the European Union's plans to cap bonuses.

"People are always writing about bankers leaving. In the end, not so many tend to move and I think that will also be the case this time," Dougan was quoted saying in Germany's Handelsblatt newspaper in an interview published on Friday.

The EU agreed last month to bar bankers from getting bonuses bigger than their base salaries, while Swiss citizens voted earlier this month to give shareholders a binding vote on executive pay at all listed companies.

Dougan said the EU plan - being challenged by Britain - could affect a few hundred Credit Suisse bankers and likely lead to fixed salaries being increased in some areas, making personnel costs less flexible.

"Some employees will probably leave London and would rather go to New York or Zurich," he said.

Dougan said he did not see a major upset from the new Swiss rules as management was in regular contact with shareholders and was constantly reviewing its compensation practices.

"As long as the board and management continue to do the right thing for shareholders, I don't see any problems arising from that," he said, noting a large proportion of Credit Suisse bonuses were already paid out in deferred share programs.

"We are already doing a lot to align the interests of shareholders and employees."

Credit Suisse is expected to disclose its top management and board pay for 2012 on March 22 and will hold its annual shareholder meeting on April 26.

Rival UBS drew fire on Thursday after announcing it paid CEO Sergio Ermotti almost $9 million in 2012 and had welcomed a new investment bank chief with a $26 million package, just as the Swiss bank is in the process of firing 10,000 staff.

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by David Holmes)

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