Credit Suisse May Need Up to $1 Billion After Huge Losses

Credit Suisse may soon raise over $1 billion in new capital after a string of huge losses last year. From a Reuters report this morning:

Credit Suisse is in the early stages of weighing options to bolster its capital after a string of losses has eroded its financial buffers, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The size of the increase would be likely to exceed 1 billion Swiss francs ($1.04 billion), but this has not yet been determined, said one of the people, who declined to be named because the deliberations are still internal.

The cash injection would help Switzerland’s second-biggest bank to recover from billions of losses in 2021 and a series of costly legal headaches.

Credit Suisse lost $5.5 billion last year just in trades with failed hedge fund Archegos Capital Management. It has since closed the prime services business that serviced Archegos and other funds.

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Risk controls have been almost nonexistent at the Zurich-based bank. Big dealmakers have routinely overruled compliance staff, with predictable results.

In my view, Credit Suisse would not be seeking to raise capital in this bear market unless it badly needed it. Stocks are crashing, the IPO market is closed, and bond markets are volatile.

If the Reuters report is accurate, I suspect Credit Suisse is getting desperate.

If Credit Suisse is in a bind, investors are apt to drive a hard bargain. The terms of a financing may be punitive, if it happens at all.

Any new equity financing would also dilute existing shareholders, making their shares worth less. Those shareholders are already reeling from a 37% loss in the last year.

The best way for Credit Suisse to avoid scandals and massive losses in the future is to change its employees incentives. When a banker that brings in a big deal gets a huge bonus and a promotion regardless of how risky the deal is, other bankers take note.

Rather than compensating employees for individual success, Credit Suisse should take a page out of Silicon Valley’s playbook.

Tech companies incentivize employees to work together for the long term success of the business by granting equity. This equity often comes in the form of Restricted Stock Units (RSU’s) that vest over 4 years.

Employees only win if the business as a whole wins. And there’s no incentive to make a reckless deal for a short-term pay-off.

I’ll be closely following any Credit Suisse fundraise. But even billions more in fresh capital won’t change the bank’s dysfunctional culture.

Do you think Credit Suisse is in trouble? And what other financial institutions could be next?

Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on markets:

This Is Why Credit Suisse Keeps Getting Punched in the Face

$6B Hedge Fund Cut Off from Trading As Investigation Looms

Citadel Adds Millions to AMC Options Bet

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