Credit Suisse aims for stronger franchise from global review

Credit Suisse is in the midst of electing which businesses to cut, exit or keep as part of its second restructuring in less than a year. PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG - Credit Suisse's top two executives have told staff the bank is working to establish a stronger franchise in the longer term, according to a memo seen by Reuters on Saturday, amid uncertainty over a global review of its operations.

The memo sent by chairman Axel Lehmann and chief executive Ulrich Koerner said a "heightened level of media and market speculation" regarding the review had raised questions among the bank's staff and clients.

Reuters reported on Thursday that Credit Suisse had sounded out investors about a possible capital raising as it attempts a radical overhaul of its investment bank.

The bank started in recent weeks to speak to investors about the move, and is in the midst of electing which businesses to cut, exit or keep as part of its second restructuring in less than a year.

Mr Koerner was appointed as CEO in late July and ordered a review of the bank's operations, the second of its type in two years.

"When we launched our strategic review, we committed to an ambitious timeline whilst also making it clear that we would carry out a rigorous and diligent evaluation of all options for Credit Suisse," the note said.

"We want to establish a clear path for the bank that will strengthen our franchise for the long term. This process requires time and a significant effort from many parts of the organization."

A Credit Suisse spokesman confirmed the contents of the memo.

Various scenarios are under discussion for the investment bank, including the most drastic option of largely exiting the United States market, two sources said.

A representative of the bank said: “Credit Suisse is not exiting the US market.”

The review's findings will be published on Oct 27 when the bank releases its third-quarter earnings, said the memo. REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

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