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UBS Group AG has begun moving Credit Suisse Group AG out of a collapsed Canary Wharf skyscraper, a blow to London’s financial district, which has already lost its iconic tenant HSBC.

Credit Suisse employees in London were told in a memo on Tuesday that teams would begin moving to UBS’s UK headquarters in London. All staff are expected to leave Canary Wharf by the end of next year, people familiar with the plans said.

Six months ago, UBS Group AG agreed to rescue Credit Suisse AG in the most significant bank takeover since the global financial crisis.

The memo, seen by the Financial Times, said: “In order to bring the first teams together in a shared building, we will soon start moving some colleagues to 5 Broadgate and from Cabernet. Multiple floors of One Special Plaza were evacuated.”

“Strengthening our real estate business and bringing colleagues together to enhance the way we engage with clients and employees is an important part of our real estate strategy.”

Credit Suisse’s move comes at a difficult time for Canary Wharf after HSBC decided to leave its 42-storey headquarters after 20 years as a major tenant in the Docklands’ financial district and instead buy smaller office buildings in the City of London.

The additional floors at One Cabot Square will increase the amount of office space for former Canary Wharf bank tenants on the market. Barclays this year appointed agents to market about 500,000 square feet in one of its buildings after it moved staff to its nearby headquarters as part of a longer-term shakeup of office space.

The large open-plan floors and high-rise towers offered by Docklands have fallen out of favor since Covid-19, as companies prefer centrally located offices and offer perks such as rooftop terraces to lure reluctant employees back to on-site work . Canary Wharf’s office vacancy rate remains higher than elsewhere in London, at 14%, compared with 11% in the City and 6% in the West End, according to CoStar.

The memo, first reported by Financial News, also confirms that UBS has begun phasing out Credit Suisse’s branding in the UK and Guernsey, replacing the logo with the UBS logo.

UBS, which last month began removing Credit Suisse’s international branding in New York, has yet to decide what to do with the bank’s Swiss branding, although it confirmed it will retain and incorporate its former rival’s domestic operations.

Credit Suisse was one of the first major tenants of the Canary Wharf property, the Docklands Financial District, the brainchild of Credit Suisse First Boston chairman Michael von Clemm.

One Cabot Square has been Credit Suisse’s UK headquarters since 1991, but the Swiss bank has reduced its footprint in the building in recent years as its staff has shrunk. It currently occupies 9 of the building’s 21 floors.

Credit Suisse sold One Cabot Square to the Qatar Investment Authority in 2012 but held a long-term lease until 2034. Just before the Covid-19 outbreak, the building underwent a costly revamp, giving the executive floors a new look.


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