People Moves

Investment Bankers Depart Credit Suisse - Report

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor, 8 July 2021

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The report said the departures have taken place since the Swiss firm was hit by its exposure to the imploded hedge fund - structured as a family office - of Archegos Capital in New York.

A number of senior bankers are leaving Credit Suisse following the $5.5 million loss sustained by its exposure to failed hedge fund/family office Archegos Capital, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Several investment bankers in the US have given their notice in the past week, while others are considering leaving, people familiar with the matter said, the WSJ reported on 7 July. The bank declined to comment to this news service.

The report said that bankers who have moved include: Eric Federman, a co-head of the media and telecom team,who  is joining Barclays; Spyros Svoronos, who was a co-head of the global-industrials team in the Americas specialising in chemicals and agricultural companies is joining Lazard; Brian McCabe, who was head of global energy is joining JP Morgan; and Brad David, who works with private-equity firms is joining Evercore. Other figures, including Greg Weinberger, its head of global mergers and acquisitions (who joined Morgan Stanley) have moved on.

Among senior changes, and as reported in April, Brian Chin, investment bank chief executive, stepped down. Lara Warner, chief risk and compliance officer, also left her role on the executive board and both left the bank. Christian Meissner was appointed CEO of the investment bank and a member of the executive board. Meissner has served as Credit Suisse’s co-head of international wealth management investment banking advisory and vice chairman of investment banking from October 2020. Before this appointment, he held various senior positions at leading investment banks, including head of global corporate and investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Prior to that, he was at Lehman Brothers from 2004 to 2008.

Archegos, an investment business of Bill Hwang, collapsed in late March because of wrong-way trades and this hit Credit Suisse as a prime broker – along with a number of other lenders, such as Nomura. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley rapidly moved large blocks of assets before other large banks that traded with Archegos, as the scale of the hedge fund’s losses became apparent, reports said. Other banks affected by the Archegos saga were Citigroup, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and UBS.

The losses at Credit Suisse added to the debacle of the UK-based Greensill Capital business to which the Swiss bank had exposure. In a trading update in April, the bank said it booked an expected net loss in the first three months of 2021 of SFr252 million. On a pre-tax basis, the loss was SFr757 million. To bolster its capital, the bank announced the offering of two series of mandatory convertible notes (MCNs), Series A MCNs and Series B MCNs, which will be convertible into 100 million shares and 103 million shares of Credit Suisse Group, respectively. Credit Suisse suspended its share buyback program.

The failure of Archegos, structured as a family office, also prompted calls from regulators and some commentators for tighter oversight of US family offices in general, although these calls have been criticised as misconceived. The affair has been an uncomfortable episode for family offices. Highworth Research, a UK-based firm tracking the industry, has pointed out that the sort of risks taken by Archegos are an exception to the general approach family offices take. The majority of family offices are providers of credit risk rather than holders of it, it said.  

The bank had a Common Equity Tier 1 ratio of 12.2 per cent at the end of March; it intends to raise it to about 13 per cent.

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