CS Firms Up U.S. Private Bank Plans

Credit Suisse, privatebanking, U.S., Charlie Buckley, UBS

It sounded unlikely after Credit Suisse sold its brokerage business to Wells Fargo last year: Credit Suisse plans to get back into the market with wealthy individuals in the U.S. as an «entrepreneur's bank,» finews.asia reported last month.

The unit would work closely with the Swiss firm's investment bankers and appeal to entrepreneurs who were looking for capital markets services, finews.asia wrote.

UBS hire

Just one month later, Credit Suisse's plans are taking shape: the bank has poached Charlie Buckley, a prominent banker from rival UBS, «Reuters» reported on Friday, citing an internal memorandum.

Buckley was previously head of family office coverage for the Americas at Switzerland's largest bank.

Credit Suisse plans task Buckley with running a unit within its investment bank to tend to the financial needs of ultra-wealthy entrepreneurs. The bank doesn't plan to offer traditional investment advice, but rather credit and capital market services, according to the report.

Investment Bank as Service Center

Wealthy entrepreneurs and founders from the oil and gas, biotech and IT sectors whose company holdings are already worth hundreds of millions are the target clientele.

By offering private banking services out of Credit Suisse's investment bank, the Swiss firm hopes the securities unit will have a leg up on major corporate transactions like public listings or mergers and acquisitions.

Thiam's Strategy

The plans fit the bank's new strategy under CEO Tidjane Thiam, who is shifting Credit Suisse's focus more firmly on wealth management and scaling back investment banking. Credit Suisse is already operating its «entrepreneur's bank» concept successfully in Asia.

The U.S. launch plans also match an existing private banking project in the U.S. – a social network for the wealthy called Clade, which Credit Suisse has a minority stake in.

Besides being a club for the world’s richest, Clade is meant to facilitate auctions as well as more typical banking services like private equity and venture investments, real estate financing, and broker transactions for luxury cars, yachts, jewelry, art and fine wine.

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