Friday, 16 April 2021 07:14 GMT

Credit Suisse lurches from one risk management crisis to the next


(MENAFN - Swissinfo)

The chief executive of Credit Suisse, Thomas Gottstein, vowed the bank would start 2021 with a 'clean slate'. © Keystone / Ennio Leanza

Credit Suisse's chief executive had a blunt message for his bank: it has 'an attitude to risk that has to change . . . there has to be consequences'.



This content was published on March 31, 2021 - 13:39 March 31, 2021 - 13:39 Owen Walker and Stephen Morris in London, Financial Times

But it was not Thomas Gottstein speaking this week after the Swiss lender warned of huge losses on trades with its client Archegos Capital Management. It was his predecessor, Tidjane Thiam, in March 2016 after uncovering vast and costly hidden bets made by the bank's traders.

In the intervening five years, it would appear that little has changed at Credit Suisse.

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Since Gottstein took charge a year ago, the bank has lurched from one crisis to another. It has been caught up in alleged frauds at Chinese coffee house chain Luckin Coffee and German payments company Wirecard. It revealed a potential $680 million (CHF641 million) hit from crisis-era US mortgage-bond litigation. And closer to home, it faces criminal charges from Switzerland's federal prosecutor over dealings with Bulgarian mafiosi engaged in cocaine smuggling.

Gottstein told the Financial Times in December that he hoped to start the new year with a 'clean slate'. He has had no such luck.

This year alone, Credit Suisse has written down $450 million on its investment in hedge fund York Capital and said the bank's clients could lose up to $3 billion from the frozen funds linked to collapsed specialist finance firm Greensill Capital, an amount equivalent to the lender's entire net income last year.

Meanwhile, Credit Suisse is being sued in London for its alleged role in bilking Mozambique's taxpayers out of $200 million in the so-called '$2 billion tuna bond' scandal.

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