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The Credit Suisse Group
AG (SIX: CSGN, NYSE: CS) is a financial services company, headquartered
in Zurich, Switzerland.
Credit Suisse was founded by Alfred Escher in 1856 under the name
Schweizerische Kreditanstalt (SKA, Swiss Credit Institution). The bank
is organized into three divisions, Investment Banking, Private Banking,
and Asset Management. Shared Services, which includes functions such as
IT, marketing and legal/compliance, encompasses all three major areas.
Credit Suisse is considered to be within the prestigious "bulge bracket"
of investment banks. The firm earned accolades throughout the recent
financial crises for prudent risk management and strategic allocation of
capital. It also gained prestige for being one of the few major
international banks to weather the crisis without any direct government
support. In 2009, Credit Suisse was recognized as "Bank of the Year" by
the International Financing Review.
In 1942, it opened its first branch outside of Switzerland, in New York
City. In 1988, it gained a controlling stake in The First Boston
Corporation, hence the long-time name of its investment banking unit
Credit Suisse First Boston. In 1993, Credit Suisse Group bought
Schweizerische Volksbank (People's Bank of Switzerland). In 1996 the two
retail banks were merged and renamed Credit Suisse. In 2000, it acquired
the investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ) and, with it, an
e-commerce software portfolio, including DLJ Direct, that it later sold
to the Bank of Montreal.
The Credit Suisse Group is structured in three divisions, Investment
Banking, Private Banking and Asset Management . On January 16, 2006,
Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB), now the Investment Banking division,
Credit Suisse Asset Management (CSAM), and Credit Suisse Private Banking
(CSPB), re-branded themselves, becoming collectively known as Credit
Suisse. This move was initiated to better leverage each others'
resources and capabilities to create a "One Bank" brand and effort.
Credit Suisse headquarters in Zürich.
Credit Suisse Building in LondonThe Credit Suisse business unit is a
provider of wide-ranging financial services in Europe and other selected
markets. It offers investment products, private banking and financial
advisory services for private and corporate clients. Credit Suisse was
founded by Alfred Escher.
Private Banking - Credit Suisse is one of the world’s largest private
banking organizations with branches in Switzerland and numerous
international markets. Private Banking specializes in providing personal
investment counseling and professional asset management to affluent
Corporate & Retail Banking - In Corporate & Retail Banking, Credit
Suisse occupies a leading position in the Swiss market. It provides a
wide range of banking services for private and corporate clients in
Switzerland. In addition, it offers online banking services.
Financial Institutions - Advice and solutions for banks and financial
institutions all around the world.
Credit Suisse, Investment Banking Division
This division used to be known as Credit Suisse First Boston. It is
active in investment banking, capital markets and financial services. It
is a member of the prestigious bulge bracket of securities firms.
Institutional Securities - Securities serves the broad needs of
institutional clients with expertise in Equities, Fixed Income, Prime
Services and Research. Investment Banking serves corporate clients'
needs through Mergers and Acquisitions, Equity Capital Markets, Debt
Capital Markets, Private Placements and Leveraged Finance services.
Credit Suisse Private Banking Division
Within the Private Banking sector Credit Suisse provides advice and
investment products and services for high-net-worth individuals
globally. Credit Suisse’s structured advisory process encompasses both
asset and liability management. Furthermore, Credit Suisse is a provider
of alternative investment products. Wealth management solutions include
tax planning; pension planning; life insurance solutions; wealth and
inheritance advice, trusts and foundations. Credit Suisse offers
multiple booking platforms and global execution capabilities. In
Switzerland, Credit Suisse supplies banking products and services to
private banking clients as well as to business and retail clients.
Until 2006 this division was known as Credit Suisse Private Banking or
In its asset management business, Credit Suisse offers investments
ranging from equities, fixed income and multiple-asset class products,
to alternative investments such as real estate, hedge funds, private
equity and volatility management. Credit Suisse’s asset management
business manages portfolios, mutual funds, and other investment vehicles
for a broad spectrum of clients ranging from governments, institutions
and corporations to private individuals. With offices in 18 countries,
Credit Suisse’s asset management business is operated as a globally
integrated network. Credit Suisse uses the Credit Risk+ method under
their financial products arm, to estimate the distribution and expected
loss incurred by companies. They also help banks to calculate their
capital reserves needed to buffer againist credit/default risk.
In Shared Services, Credit Suisse provides services to support the
divisions, while improving independent controls. The Shared Services
divisions include CFO, COO, CRO, General Counsel, and IT division.
Winterthur was divested from Credit Suisse on June 14, 2006. AXA
acquired the leading Swiss insurance company from Credit Suisse Group
for about €8 billion.
The CIO of Credit Suisse is Karl Landert, located in Zurich, Switzerland
Historical Credit Suisse logo used from the 1980s and for certain
divisions through the rebranding in 2006
Historical Credit Suisse First Boston logo used in the 1990s through the
rebranding in 20061856 - Credit Suisse founded
1905 - First branch (in Basel)
1940 - First branch outside Switzerland (in New York)
1978 - Start of co-operation with The First Boston Corporation
1988 - Controlling stake in The First Boston Corporation, which is
renamed CS First Boston
1989 - CS Holding became parent company of the Group
1990 - Acquisition of Bank Leu
1993 - Acquisition of Swiss Volksbank
1994 - Strategic alliance with Swiss Re
1995 - Strategic alliance with Winterthur Group
1996 - CS Holding becomes Credit Suisse Group; investment banking
business named Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB)
1997 - Merger with Winterthur Group
2000 - Acquisition of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ)
2001 - Sponsorship for the Sauber Petronas Formula One Team
2002 - Streamlining of the Group's organizational structure into two
business units: Credit Suisse Financial Services and Credit Suisse First
2004 - Focusing the Group's organizational structure on three business
units:Credit Suisse, Credit Suisse First Boston and Winterthur
2006 - Credit Suisse undergoes a rebranding and structural shift to the
"One Bank" model. It divests Winterthur to AXA and the newly reorganized
Investment Bank replaces the old CSFB. The First Boston affiliation is
2008 - Credit Suisse suspends some of its traders in connection with the
overvaluation of assets by $2.85 billion.Credit Suisse writes down
Mergers & Acquisitions
CSFB USA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Credit Suisse First Boston
Inc., which is, in turn, a wholly owned subsidiary of CS. CS is a wholly
owned subsidiary of CSG. CSFB USA was created through the merger with
DLJ, which was completed on Nov. 3, 2000. CSFB LLC, CSFB's principal
U.S. registered broker-dealer subsidiary, became a subsidiary of DLJ,
and DLJ changed its name to CSFB USA.
Prior to the DLJ Merger, the Credit Suisse Group (CS) purchased First
Boston in 1988 creating CS First Boston. The firm's bulge bracket status
came after the merger with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ).
In an article published by Reuters on February 23, 2008, Brazilian
public prosecutor Karen Kahn announced that several employees of Credit
Suisse as well as others from UBS, Clariden Leu and AIG were under
investigation by federal authorities. In 2007, police arrested 20
people, including bankers at UBS, Credit Suisse unit Clariden and AIG
Private Bank after the discovery of illegal activities including money
laundering, tax evasion, fraudulent banking and operating without a
banking license. During the course of Operation Switzerland in 2008,
Christian Peter Weiss and 13 other employees of Credit Suisse were
arrested in Rio de Janeiro for helping operate an illegal money transfer
The New York Times reported on December 16, 2009, that Manhattan
District Attorney Robert Morganthau, the Justice Department and Federal
Reserve had reached an agreement with Credit Suisse in which Credit
Suisse was fined $536 million. Credit Suisse settled on charges that it
violated sanctions regulating financial transactions with Iran. The
charges included "stripping", the practice of removing the identity and
origin of funds used in transactions. Credit Suisse employees stripped
the identities of Iranian banks enabling funds to be transferred to the
Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and the Aerospace Industries
Organization, entities respectively involved in the production of
nuclear weapons and long range missiles. Credit Suisse advised Iranian
banks such as Bank Melli and Bank Saderat on methods to hide their
identities and send more than a billion dollars through New York banks.