Why Credit Suisse's top economist left to go back to school
University might be seen as a young person’s game, but everyone has the right to give it a go. On masters courses in particular, you can expect to find people of all different ages and backgrounds. Even so, people studying Environmental Economics and Climate Change at the London School of Economics this year might be surprised to find an economist with over 23 years of experience at the top of Credit Suisse among their peers.
Neville Hill who, in addition to his time at the investment bank, spent over four years as an economist for the UK government, has embarked on upon the qualification after voluntarily leaving Credit Suisse in May. Hill speaks highly of his time at Credit Suisse, and says he “wouldn’t have stayed there so long if he didn’t enjoy it.”
This doesn't absolve Credit Suisse from light criticism. Hill says the Swiss bank's changing organisational priorities as it shifted from investment banking to wealth management were a deciding factor in his exit. The bank he left wasn't the bank he joined. His time there “had reached a natural end.”
Hill says he chose the LSE course because a colleague had completed it, because he has a long held an interest in environmental issues and because there are “not many places in the world that can teach it.” He studied his first degree (at Bristol in economics and economic history) in 1993 and had a resulting "toolkit" from "doing basic microeconomics,” alongside the macro perspective from his jobs.
As Credit Suisse's restructuring looms into view, other senior bankers might want to consider doing something similar. Hill says the course could be a “very useful ticket to a job later on,” and should provide him with “sharper knowledge of the economic and policy tools likely to be effective” in combatting environmental crises. This new expertise is likely to be more valuable in light of energy price rises. Hill says he's interested in "behavioral responses" to the issue and that he's in favour of establishing, "the least costly and most efficient way of achieving [good] environmental outcomes."
In turn, Hill says his long years of experience in banking mean that he knows “how to manage and motivate a team and present views to difficult people.” On this basis, various other people at Credit Suisse and across banking could make a valuable contribution in ESG too.
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