Credit Suisse ran up $20b exposure to Archegos: report

by AFP

WASHINGTON – Credit Suisse racked up more than $20 billion in exposure to Archegos-related investments, the Wall Street Journal reported late Wednesday, and the Swiss bank’s executives were only told days before the US hedge fund’s implosion.

“Credit Suisse Chief Executive Thomas Gottstein and Chief Risk Officer Lara Warner, who recently departed the bank, only became aware of the bank’s exposure to Archegos in the days leading up to the forced liquidation of the fund,” the business daily reported, citing people close with the bank. 

“Neither Mr Gottstein nor Ms Warner had been aware of the fund as a major client before that,” the paper added.

The report came out just hours before Credit Suisse was due to unveil its quarterly results Thursday, which will be closely scrutinized by shareholders and investors.

Switzerland’s second-largest bank has already indicated that a charge of 4.4 billion Swiss francs (some 3.9 billion euros, $4.7 billion) would be entered in its accounts to cover the damage related to Archegos. 

The US family-owned hedge fund run by former Tiger Asia director Bill Hwang had taken huge bets on a few stocks with money borrowed from banks. 

When several important positions reversed and Archegos could not respond to margin calls, it triggered one of the biggest sudden losses in Wall Street history.

According to the Wall Street Journal’s sources, Credit Suisse failed to protect itself from its exposure to Archegos, “in part because it hadn’t yet instituted a system that monitored in real time how much risk a position created for the bank as the prices of the underlying securities changed.”