Could Credit Suisse's Singaporean wealth managers one day work for... BNP Paribas?
As Credit Suisse executes its turnaround plan, there are some who are suggesting that - after last week's miserable set of results - the Swiss bank might want to try something a little more radical. How about, for example, selling off some of the crown jewels?
The Financial Times reported last week that there are a few banks waiting in the wings to pick up profitable parts of Credit Suisse. One of them is BNP Paribas, which the FT says might be interested in Credit Suisse's Asian wealth management business in particular.
Credit Suisse hasn't said that it's selling its Asian business and BNP Paribas hasn't said that it's buying it, so the putative sale is entirely speculative, but a purchase might make sense. The FT notes that BNP wants to grow its own wealth management operation, but the French bank is weak in Asia and lacks a successful private banking arm; it's rumoured to be sniffing around.
While Credit Suisse steadies its ship, it is at least helped by the fact that demand for wealth managers seems to be slowing. Vontobel, the Swiss private bank, that had been hiring in Singapore, said last week that the freeze on headcount growth which it imposed in the first quarter of 2022 remains in place and that variable pay is being cut. "We are preparing for the possibility that the recovery may be more “U-shaped than V-shaped” and that 2023 may again be challenging for investors and Vontobel," it declared in its investor presentation.
A Credit Suisse spokesperson gave the following statement:
“The new Credit Suisse puts Wealth Management at the core. APAC remains a key pillar of growth for the bank globally and there are no plans to sell the business.”
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