Strategy

INTERVIEW: Private Banking In US Bright Spot For Credit Suisse

Charles Paikert, Contributing Editor in New York, 2 November 2012

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As part of a series interviewing some of the most senior people at the world’s best-known private banks, here Family Wealth Report contributing editor Charles Paikert sits down with Credit Suisse’s Anthony DeChellis.

Editor’s Note: As part of a series interviewing some of the most senior people at the world’s best-known private banks, here Family Wealth Report contributing editor Charles Paikert sits down with Credit Suisse’s Anthony DeChellis.

In the wake of slumping third-quarter earnings and revenue at Credit Suisse, the Swiss bank’s private banking business in the Americas, led by chief executive Anthony DeChellis, has emerged as a bright spot for the global financial services giant.

Swiss banks are facing intense pressure as net inflows of money from offshore accounts come under increased legal scrutiny and are increasingly flowing to Asian competitors. In fact, a report last week by Dallas-based RnRMarketresearch.com predicted that Singapore will overtake Switzerland as the largest global offshore wealth center by 2020.

What’s more, tightening credit spreads and increased pressure on profit margins, resulting from cut-throat competition for high-end clients, are taking a toll on all major banks with a private banking line of business.

As a result, Credit Suisse said its “cost saving measures” will exceed $3 billion next year, with additional long-term cuts set for 2014 and 2015.

While the bank has not yet publicly announced how the cuts will by divided by divisions, it appears unlikely Credit Suisse Private Bank Americas will be hard hit.

Since DeChellis took over in 2006, assets under management in South America have more than doubled, from $35 billion to approximately $80 billion today, and AuM in the extremely competitive US market have increased from $45 billion to approximately $100 billion today.

DeChellis sees continued growth in both markets. The less developed wealth centers south of the US border are expected to offer more opportunities, but DeChellis is confident Credit Suisse can also maintain its progress in the more challenging US market, where the private bank must compete not only against its peers in the form of  entrenched leaders like JP Morgan Chase and Citibank, but also against the industry’s hottest stars, breakaway independent advisors backed by powerful platforms from firms like HighTower and Dynasty Financial Partners.

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