Credit Suisse's troubles show Europe's banking dilemma, BlackRock says
Credit Suisse Group AG’s struggles with its business model underscore the broader issue facing banks across Europe, a top executive at major shareholder BlackRock Inc. said.
“If you want to attract investors, you need to have the right business model. And this review in my mind is all about clarity,” Philipp Hildebrand, vice chairman at the world’s largest asset manager, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Tuesday. “This is what has been in many ways haunting the European banking sector for quite some time.”
There are notable exceptions, the former Swiss central banker said, adding French lender BNP Paribas SA is one that stands out.
Credit Suisse is preparing to unveil a turnaround to investors next week, as the firm looks to simplify operations following scandals and losses. That will likely include a repair plan for its investment bank, which has been on the ropes since suffering massive losses last year from backing Archegos Capital Management. Several years prior, Deutsche Bank AG endured its own crisis which forced a capital raise.
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BlackRock ranks among Credit Suisse’s top shareholders along with Harris Associates LP and wealthy Middle Eastern investors, including the Qatar Investment Authority and Saudi Arabia’s Olayan Group.
“Credit Suisse is still in most indices, and therefore many of our clients are still invested. I would also say that I’m sure many feel this is an attractive level to re-enter,” Hildebrand said in response to a question about why BlackRock is still invested in the Swiss lender.
Hildebrand declined to say whether Blackrock is interested in buying assets from Credit Suisse such as its US asset management business, after Bloomberg reported that the bank is considering a sale of the business. He added he won’t speculate ahead of an upcoming presentation by the Swiss bank’s Chief Executive Officer Ulrich Koerner.
The BlackRock executive was mentioned in Swiss press two years ago as a potential candidate to become chairman of Credit Suisse, as the bank then sought a replacement for Urs Rohner. More than a decade ago, as president of the Swiss National Bank, he was cited as saying that Switzerland’s future as a financial center lies with wealth management and not with investment banking.
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