Singaporean Law Firm In Talks Over AT1 Credit Suisse Lawsuit

Editorial Staff 2 June 2023


The legal actions by holders of Additional Tier 1 bonds – forms of capital issued by European banks after the 2008 financial crash – in the case of Credit Suisse, continue. Billions of Swiss francs of the debt was written down amidst the UBS takeover of its rival, at the behest of the Swiss government.

Singapore-headquartered law firm WongPartnership is talking to more than 40 holders of Credit Suisse Additional Tier 1 (AT1) bonds, to represent them in a collective action against the Swiss government, this news service can confirm. 

They are seeking to bring forth an “investor treaty case,” which argues that the Swiss government’s decision to write off the bonds breached agreed-upon protections afforded to Singapore investors under the EFTA-Singapore Free Trade Agreement.

In an emailed statement to WealthBriefingAsia, WongPartnership said: “Our firm is currently in talks with more than 40 holders of Credit Suisse Additional Tier 1 (AT1) bonds to represent them in a collective treaty claim against the Swiss government on the basis that the passing of the legislation to enable the  bonds to be written off is in breach of various substantive protections afforded to Singapore investors under the European Free Trade Association-Singapore Free Trade Agreement.

“These holders are  accredited investors who are Singaporeans or permanent residents, as well as family offices. Most bought the bonds after being introduced to them by private bankers. Other foreign investors from Asia have also reached out to us to ascertain whether there is any applicable treaty that they can have recourse to,” it continued.

Koh Swee Yen, senior counsel at the firm, added: “We appreciate that the bondholders have already lost their entire investments, so we decided to make third-party funding a priority.”

When UBS, at the behest of the Swiss government, moved to buy embattled Credit Suisse in March, SFr16 billion ($17.6 billion) in AT1 bonds issued by Credit Suisse were written off, prompting anger from holders. Several lawsuits are understood to be in the works. (See a story here about law firm Withers' case.)

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