Credit Suisse Archegos Aftershocks Reverberate as Profit Plunges
(Bloomberg) -- As Credit Suisse Group AG tried to explain to investors how the Archegos Capital Management crisis happened, the bank’s earnings showed the aftershocks are still rippling through its key businesses.
Second-quarter profit plunged on a slump in trading that was exacerbated by a $653 million loss related to the implosion of the U.S. family office, while in Asia the bank turned away billions of dollars in assets as it cut exposure to risky clients. In a separate report, the firm blamed key personnel for failing to prevent the Archegos hit, saying they “systemically ignored” build up of risks.
Credit Suisse is reeling from the Archegos and Greensill Capital hits that angered investors, damaged its reputation and precipitated a flood of departures. New chairman Antonio Horta-Osorio is undertaking a strategic review, leading to more uncertainty about the bank’s future.
The firm is downsizing the prime brokerage unit that services hedge funds by a third and taking a deeper look at who it wants to conduct business with. That’s particularly affected wealth management clients in Asia, where the bank had $4.2 billion of outflows in Southeast Asia, Japan and China as it reviewed relationships. The move to pare risk hurt also second-quarter revenue in other businesses as well, including a joint venture between the wealth management and investment bank units.
“We are now very much focused on taking the right lessons away from this, the right read-across,” Chief Executive Officer Thomas Gottstein said of the incidents in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Thursday. “We are doing a global risk review across the bank and we will make sure that nothing like that will ever happen again.”
The issues have left Credit Suisse out of a global rally for bank stocks. The firm’s shares have dropped about 21% this year, while major bank indexes in Europe and the U.S. rallied more than 20%. Credit Suisse fell as much as 5.1% on Thursday.
Net income tumbled 78% in the second quarter, a bigger drop than analysts expected, as the firm’s investment bank posted a pretax loss.
As part of attempts to reform the bank, Credit Suisse earlier this week said it’s hiring David Wildermuth from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to become the new chief risk officer, replacing former risk and compliance chief Lara Warner, who stepped down among several other key executives after the scandals. Her roles will now be split. Wildermuth is the second Goldman Sachs executive to join the firm since Horta-Osorio took over, after the appointment of Joanne Hannaford as chief technology and operations officer.
A report prepared by the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP concluded while the bank’s systems identified the risks around Archegos, the prime services unit took a “lackadaisical attitude toward risk.” The Swiss firm said it ousted nine executives and recouped about $70 million in pay, including bonus clawbacks, as it punished 23 people in all for their role in the scandal, which cost the bank far more than its Wall Street counterparts.
The Archegos scandal was so damaging for the bank because it came just weeks after the bank was forced to liquidate $10 billion of supply chain finance funds that it ran with financier Lex Greensill. Investor repayments have slowed in recent weeks, though the bank said it expects to disburse about $400 million next month, taking total the total cash distribution to $5.9 billion.
At the investment bank -- which was at the center of the Archegos collapse -- revenue fell sharply in the second quarter. Fixed-income trading was down 33% from a year earlier, though that was better than the Wall Street average after the onset of the pandemic led to a surge in capital markets activity a year earlier and a windfall for investment banks. Equities revenue slumped 17%, even before accounting for Archegos, compared with gains for U.S. peers.
Deal advisory revenue fell by a third. The bank has seen an exodus of more than 40 senior bankers in the dealmaking business in a brain drain that could cost Credit Suisse roles on key upcoming deals, affecting its market share and billions of dollars in fees. Still, the bank signaled it has a strong pipeline for M&A deals and equity capital markets.
The bank signaled that further measures to reduce risk could be on the way as part of the ongoing review of the business strategy.
- Net income of 253m Swiss francs vs expectations for profit of 380 million francs
- Net revenue of 5.1b francs vs estimate of 5.36b
- International wealth management pretax profit 340 million francs vs 355.6 million estimate
- Investment bank pretax loss 86 million francs vs 163.8 million estimated loss
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