NEW YORK - Credit Suisse First Boston is targeting deal trophies and dinners in the firm's latest effort to curb costs amid a dearth of mergers and new stock sales.
"Given current market conditions,'' said co-heads of investment banking Tony James and Chuck Ward in a memo yesterday to their subordinates worldwide, "Try to keep dinners below $10,000, particularly when no travel is involved."
They also banned more elaborate and expensive celebrations with clients to commemorate transactions: "No closing weekends.''
The executives went on to say that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc.'s Salomon Smith Barney unit had also prohibited such parties. Spokespeople for these companies declined to comment.
CSFB, which managed more U.S. initial public offerings than any securities firm last year, has not managed any in 2001. The unit of Credit Suisse Group AG has said it is reducing the investment banking division by as much as 8% and is now trying to trim expenses without further cutting staff.
Mr. James and Mr. Ward told their bankers to watch their spending on the Lucite trophies, dubbed lucites, that mark deals.
"Keep costs of lucites below $2,500 and do not order for senior bankers,'' their memo said.
The e-mail memo, obtained by Bloomberg News, also instructed bankers to "coordinate with Corporate Events before making any plans. Corporate Events will help plan the event and order lucites.''
A maker of Lucite trophies said it was unusual for them to become the focus of cost cuts.
"This is such a small expense its rarely gets squashed,'' said Edward Strauss, president of Arrow Advertising in New York.
"It usually goes under 'incidental fees' anyway," he said, and gets billed back to the client.