Wall Street banks and European rivals are undoing de facto hiring freezes after Credit Suisse Group AG’s emergency rescue by UBS Group AG, unable to resist the lure of top talent available at a discount.

Firms such as Deutsche Bank AG, Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are readying to hire some of the Swiss firm’s investment bankers and wealth managers, people with knowledge of the matter said. Conversations are beginning in New York and London, and some headhunters are even flying to Zurich for meetings, the people said.

While shockwaves from Credit Suisse’s effective collapse are still reverberating across markets, in some banks the narrative has shifted from contagion to the once-in-a-decade opportunities on offer. The first emergency sale of a major bank since the financial crisis is presenting rivals the chance to scoop up key personnel or businesses that might otherwise not have been on offer.

That’s launching back into action a talent market that a few weeks ago had mostly been marked by job cuts and pullbacks on hiring. Much of the interest is incoming from Credit Suisse staffers, and while the firm had already seen an exodus of top bankers over the past two years, rivals still see plenty of worthy candidates among the roughly 50,000 employees. UBS may make its own overtures to stars it wants to keep around.

“There are a lot of very talented investment bankers who are actively being recruited,” said Michael Nelson, managing director at recruitment firm Quest Group in New York. “A lot of these Credit Suisse people realize that UBS has a smaller business and franchise of banking across FIG, leveraged finance and advisory businesses, and they are reaching out to other firms about potential seats.”

Deutsche Bank, Europe’s biggest fixed income player, is taking a close look at hiring after UBS signaled it will wind down Credit Suisse’s debt trading business, the people said, asking not to be identified as the plans are private. 

UBS Chairman Colm Kelleher, speaking at a press conference on Sunday, was clear on its intentions for Credit Suisse’s investment bank. The unit would be shrunk and aligned “with our conservative risk culture,” he said, adding that UBS will be “de-risking a lot of the tricky businesses that we are inheriting.”

Representatives for the banks declined to comment.

The rescue throws into question the spinout of Credit Suisse’s investment banking business into the First Boston unit under Michael Klein. UBS isn’t keen to go ahead with those plans and may instead cherry pick top dealmakers, people with knowledge of the matter said earlier this week.

The uncertainty will likely play into hiring pitches as some bankers move now rather than wait to see if they’ve made the cut at UBS. Others may balk at joining what until recently was the bank’s arch-rival, or prefer to join a competitor that has a larger investment banking operation.

UBS Chief Executive Officer Ralph Hamers said this week that about $6 billion of the $8 billion of planned cost savings from the combination would come from staffing.

The collapse of Credit Suisse adds a fresh twist to an already volatile hiring market for the banks. During the coronavirus pandemic, they embarked on a war for talent as dealmaking and financing demand surged, only for activity to slow as the Fed began raising rates. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley are among firms that have been outlining job cut plans recently.

Headhunting firms working with banks including Goldman Sachs have already started to fly representatives into Zurich to speak with candidates, according to one of the people with direct knowledge of the matter. Lenders such as HSBC Holdings Plc and JPMorgan, as well as other European and Swiss private banks, are in the market for wealth bankers or even whole teams, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Some firms are looking beyond just bankers who wield key relationships with clients to the investment specialists who help structure complicated transactions and investment products for wealthy clients, one person said.

Credit Suisse’s takeover for a fraction of its market value and intervention by the government have rendered much of deferred compensation near worthless. Credit Suisse on Tuesday was ordered by the Swiss government to freeze deferred bonuses, adding to the pain of bankers who had already seen the value of their awards decimated by the stock’s plunge.

UBS could still give many a reason to stay, especially on the wealth side where it’s looking to expand. When announcing the Swiss government backed transaction, Hamers said the combination with Credit Suisse supports the firm’s wealth management growth ambitions in the Americas and Asia. The combination of the two banks creates a wealth-management giant with some $5 trillion in invested assets.