April 17, 2021

Credit Suisse suspends bonuses over Greensill collapse


The London headquarters of Credit Suisse.

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LONDON — Credit Suisse has pledged to shake up its asset management business and suspend bonuses for several senior executives following the collapse of finance firm Greensill.

Credit Suisse announced Thursday that Ulrich Körner will become the new CEO of its asset management business from April 1. He will replace Eric Varvel, who will continue as CEO of Credit Suisse Holdings and chairman of the investment bank.

The Swiss investment bank is trying to contain the damage from the collapse of Greensill, a supply-chain finance business that it had ties with.

Greensill, which fell into administration last week, claims on its website that it “unlocks finance so the world can put it to work” and in 2020, it issued over $143 billion in finance to over 10 million customers.

The London-headquartered firm, in which Japan’s SoftBank invested around $1.5 billion, filed for administration after its insurance provider refused to renew $4.6 billion of insurance for its loans.

Credit Suisse had several links to Greensill including $10 billion worth of funds. It said it was suspending the funds linked to Greensill on March 1.

This funding offered exposure to Greensill loans and were marketed to the bank’s clients as low-risk investments. Credit Suisse said that some investors had threatened to take legal action and warned that it could lose clients over the issue.

The bank said its board was investigating the company’s ties with Greensill and it may ask some staff to pay back bonuses they were previously issued.

“The payout and vesting of variable compensation of a number of senior employees involved in these matters, up to and including executive board members, has been suspended as a measure to ensure that we can reconsider the variable compensation for 2020 and are able to apply malus or clawback, if appropriate,” the bank said Thursday in its 2020 compensation report.

It added: “The compensation committee is monitoring developments closely and will determine, based on investigation results, any appropriate actions to be applied.”

Credit Suisse said its asset management business which housed the controversial supply chain funds will now be separated from its international wealth management division.

Körner will report directly to group CEO Thomas Gottstein and will also be a member of the executive board.

“Ulrich Körner is an excellent addition to our leadership team, reinforcing its values and performance culture,” said Gottstein in a statement.

“Ueli is a strong leader and strategic thinker with proven ability in business development and profitable growth in asset management, as well as in business transformation.”



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