Credit Suisse set to issue report on Archegos errors

Credit Suisse is likely to publish an investigation as soon as Thursday into the breakdown that led to massive losses from family office Archegos Capital Management, people familiar with the matter said.

The detailed report could become public around the time Credit Suisse reports second-quarter earnings, the people said. The report focuses on problems in the bank’s risk management unit, human errors in judgment and unheeded risk in concentrated positions, some of the people said.

It is expected to detail the bank’s failures, similar to lengthy reviews around other major bank losses, such as JPMorgan’s $6bn trading loss, known as the “London Whale,” and Wells Fargo’s sales practices scandal.

The collapse of Archegos, piled on top of the insolvency of another key Credit Suisse client, Greensill Capital, plunged the storied Swiss lender into crisis earlier this year. Credit Suisse took the biggest hit on Wall Street from Archegos—more than $5.5bn.

READ Credit Suisse hires Goldman Sachs executive Wildermuth as new chief risk officer

Credit Suisse ousted its chief risk officer, investment bank head and others and turned to investors for $2bn in fresh capital to shore up the bank’s balance sheet. The Swiss regulator, Finma, opened civil enforcement proceedings against Credit Suisse. Regulators in the US and the U.K. are probing the losses from Archegos at multiple banks, the Wall Street Journal previously reported.

The report is expected to detail specific problems that enabled Archegos losses to grow so large, including problems that were documented in a page one Wall Street Journal article in June, the people said.

When Archegos’s position in stocks including ViacomCBS and Discovery soared in mid-March, the bank credited Archegos with money it had given to Credit Suisse to secure its bets, the Journal previously reported.

READ How the Greensill scandal could have left taxpayers on the hook for £335m

The transfer meant Archegos had less cash on the line backing up its positions. Some of Credit Suisse’s rivals demanded more cash to back up Archegos’s investments since there was increasing risk in the concentration of the firm’s positions.

Credit Suisse amassed more than $20bn of exposure to investments related to Archegos, equivalent to half the bank’s equity cushion against potential losses, the Journal previously reported.

Credit Suisse executives also didn’t adequately respond to prior warning signs. The bank lost about $200m closing out investments for a flailing hedge fund in March 2020 but didn’t make appropriate changes when failures were highlighted in an internal audit afterward, the Journal reported.

Part of the problem was a key personnel change in the bank’s prime brokerage unit, which handled the Archegos account, after the death of an experienced manager in a ski-lift accident. The report is expected to go into detail on how some executives didn’t adequately escalate Archegos’s growing risk, some of the people familiar said.

Credit Suisse’s new chairman, António Horta-Osório, has pledged to improve risk management at the bank and is also reviewing its strategy and culture. On Tuesday, the bank named a Goldman Sachs Group veteran, David Wildermuth, as its next chief risk officer.

Mr. Horta-Osório has said he expects to make decisions before the end of the year about how to restructure the bank in the wake of Archegos and Greensill.

He has indicated the focus will continue to be on the bank’s bread-and-butter business of managing wealth for the global rich. Last decade, Credit Suisse pivoted away from a volatile markets trading business to grow in wealth. Some bank analysts say they now expect significant further cuts to the investment bank.

Write to Emily Glazer at [email protected], Margot Patrick at [email protected] and Maureen Farrell at [email protected]

This article was published by Dow Jones Newswires

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