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“Idealism and impracticality” – inside Credit Suisse Asia

Credit Suisse is restructuring its investment bank and focusing on the wealth management business, but there are suggestions that wealth management might need a bit of attention too. 

Earlier this year, the Financial Times reported that Credit Suisse was having problems onboarding clients to its APAC wealth management division. Clients were reportedly waiting up to eight months to open accounts as the bank struggled to deal with more stringent Source of Wealth (SoW) requirements from regulators.

Credit Suisse declined to comment, but one insider at the bank says “idealism and impracticality” were to blame. He claims the bank implemented a series of new controls combining the two traits, and that "drastic derisking" was the result.

There's been a change of management since. Pete Monaci, the regional head of compliance for Credit Suisse Asia, left in June 2022. Monaci is now head of compliance at Citadel Securities in Hong Kong. It's not clear the extent to which he was responsible for the delays. 

As Credit Suisse seeks to focus on its wealth management business, there are suggestions that the tensions caused by the summer delays to account opening resulted in the exit of relationship managers. Globally, 60 relationship managers left between the second and third quarters. Six senior relationship managers left in Asia in October alone.  

As it pursues growth, insiders at the Swiss bank in Singapore say that not only more relationship managers but more senior compliance staff are needed. As the bank focuses on firing, it may need to hire too. 

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AUTHORZeno Toulon

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