The downturn in Credit Suisse’s performance can also be attributed to its ongoing struggles stemming from several damaging scandals. Notably, its involvement in the Archegos Capital Management fiasco resulted in losses and fines amounting to $5.5 billion, while the collapse of Greensill Capital left Credit Suisse vulnerable to potential losses of $10 billion from supply chain finance funds.
Additionally, the Mozambique debt fraud case led to a $600 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, further eroding the bank’s capital base and reputation.
The road ahead for Credit Suisse appears challenging, with regulatory scrutiny and antitrust investigations looming globally. These inquiries are driven by concerns over competition and financial stability resulting from the merger.
Internally, the bank must contend with discontent and uncertainty among employees, customers, and shareholders who are dissatisfied with the merger’s consequences. Furthermore, Credit Suisse must vie with better-positioned and more diversified competitors in the global banking arena.
The acquisition of Credit Suisse by UBS unfolded in a critical context. In March 2023, Swiss authorities and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority orchestrated an emergency deal valued at 3 billion Swiss francs ($3.2 billion), fearing that Credit Suisse’s failure could instigate a worldwide financial crisis.
The agreement was an all-stock transaction, with Credit Suisse shareholders receiving 1 UBS share for every 22.48 Credit Suisse shares held. UBS finalized the acquisition in June 2023, culminating in a consolidated banking group with assets nearing $1.7 trillion and assets under management reaching $5 trillion.
While the acquisition held the promise of creating a global banking titan, capable of rivalling the industry’s giants, it was fraught with challenges. UBS opted to divest from Credit Suisse’s non-core operations, pivoting toward wealth management and corporate banking. This shift, however, incurred considerable losses, severance expenses, litigation costs, and diminished revenues for Credit Suisse.
In addition to the financial and operational impact, the acquisition marked the end of Credit Suisse’s 167-year legacy, inciting public outcry and concerns over the nation’s financial stability. With the combined entity’s assets far surpassing the country’s annual output, and local deposits equivalent to 45% of the GDP, the merger raised anxieties. Swiss taxpayers also faced potential liabilities of up to 9 billion Swiss francs ($10 billion) stemming from UBS’s exposure to certain Credit Suisse assets.