The Archegos hit eclipses the bank’s 2.7 billion Swiss franc net profit last year, with questions over how its exposure to Hwang became so big remaining unanswered. “The significant loss in our Prime Services business relating to the failure of a US-based hedge fund is unacceptable,” Credit Suisse Chief Executive Thomas Gottstein said in a statement. “Serious lessons will be learned.”
The scandal-hit bank now expects to post a loss for the first quarter of around 900 million Swiss francs. It is also suspending its share buyback plans and cutting its dividend by two thirds. Switzerland’s No. 2 bank, which has dumped over $2 billion worth of stock to end exposure to the New York investment fund run by former Tiger Asia manager Bill Hwang, said Chief Risk and Compliance Officer Lara Warner and investment banking head Brian Chin were stepping down following the losses. It is the second major scandal for Credit Suisse in just over a month after the collapse of Greensill Capital, with the bank’s shares down by a quarter since March 1.
The bank’s board has launched an investigation into the Archegos losses and also begun a probe into its $10 billion supply chain funds which invested in bonds issued by Greensill. Proposed bonuses for executive board members have been scrapped and outgoing chairman Urs Rohner, who has presided over the bank since 2011, will forgo his 1.5 million Swiss franc chair fee for the year.
Incoming chairman António Horta-Osório, currently CEO of Britain’s Lloyds Bank, is being kept apprised of the investigations, which are being led by a “very senior member” of the board, a source familiar with the matter said. Related Coverage
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