Date
21 July 2017
Chief executive Tidjane Thiam plans to present the results of a strategic review to the bank's board in early October. Photo: Bloomberg
Chief executive Tidjane Thiam plans to present the results of a strategic review to the bank's board in early October. Photo: Bloomberg

Credit Suisse said to be planning to sell US private bank

Credit Suisse Group plans to sell its US private bank and slash its prime brokerage business, Swiss newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag reported, citing unnamed sources.

Results of a strategic review announced in July will be presented to the bank’s board in early October, earlier than first envisaged to give markets time to absorb news of a planned capital increase, Reuters quoted the newspaper report as saying.

A spokesman for Switzerland’s second-biggest bank declined comment on the report.

The newspaper cited “insiders” as saying the bank’s US private banking business had around 100 billion Swiss francs (US$103 billion) under management but was not making progress there, unlike rival UBS.

The prime brokerage business, which provides services for big clients like hedge funds, and its fixed-income investment business would be scaled back to free up capital that can be used for other businesses, it said.

Chief executive Tidjane Thiam signaled a strategy shake-up when he joined this year from British insurer Prudential Plc.

The revamp aims to focus on banking for the world’s wealthy, particularly in Asia, while moving away from riskier securities activities.

Investors have been watching for any clues as to his plans, as well as for any hints of a widely expected move to tap shareholders for additional capital.

The newspaper said Thiam planned changes in senior management that could affect allies of former CEO Brady Dougan, including private banking co-head Robert Shafir and chief financial officer David Mathers.

Shafir was set to leave, while Mathers may be downgraded to his secondary role heading IT and operations, it reported.

Schweiz am Sonntag said Gael de Boissard, head of investment banking-fixed income, was in line to get the finance chief job.

It said Credit Suisse’s board, which needs to approve the revamp, could have reservations, especially about the personnel changes.

Chaired by Urs Rohner, the board was due to address the plan on the first weekend of October, the newspaper said.

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CG

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