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Credit Suisse execs to depart as bank details Archegos losses, sources say

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Key Points
  • The Swiss bank will say that Chief Risk Officer Lara Warner and Brian Chin, CEO of its investment bank, will leave the bank, the sources said on Monday.
  • Defaults on margin calls by Archegos, a family office run by former Tiger Asia manager Bill Hwang, caused a clutch of banks to rapidly unwind billions of dollars of his leveraged trades last month.

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A picture taken on March 3, 2021 in Zurich shows a sign of Swiss banking Credit Suisse on their headquarters.
Fabrice Coffrini | AFP | Getty Images

Credit Suisse will on Tuesday detail losses from its relationship with Archegos Capital Management after dumping over $2 billion worth of stock to end exposure to the troubled investor, two sources familiar with the matter said.

The episode, which analysts have said could cost the Swiss bank several billion dollars, is also expected to result in the departures of Chief Risk Officer Lara Warner and Brian Chin, the bank's investment banking head, the sources said.

Credit Suisse and Archegos declined to comment. Warner and Chin did not respond to requests for comment.

The two executives are paying the price for a year in which Credit Suisse's risk management protocols have come under harsh scrutiny, with two major relationships turning sour in quick succession, saddling the bank with what JPMorgan Chase & Co analysts estimate could add up to $7.5 billion.

Archegos, a private investment vehicle of former hedge fund manager Sung Kook "Bill" Hwang, fell apart late last month when its debt-laden bets on stocks of certain media companies unraveled. Credit Suisse and other banks, which acted as Archegos' brokers, had to scramble to sell the shares they held as collateral and unwind the trades.

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Why Credit Suisse and Nomura were hurt in the Archegos fallout

While sources have said some banks, including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank, managed to exit the trades without taking a hit, others have ended up with losses. Japan's Nomura Holdings has flagged a possible $2 billion loss, for example. Nomura declined to comment.

For Credit Suisse, the Archegos episode came just weeks after the demise of another major client — the British finance firm Greensill. Credit Suisse had marketed funds that financed Greensill's operations. Warner's role has come under scrutiny in the aftermath of that firm's collapse as well.

Credit Suisse's share price has fallen by a quarter in the past month as investors assess the hit to the bank's bottom line and credibility, overshadowing an otherwise strong start to the year. The episodes have also put pressure on Chief Executive Thomas Gottstein who has been trying to move Credit Suisse on from another string of bad headlines, spanning a spy scandal that ousted predecessor Tidjane Thiam to a $450 million write-down on a hedge fund investment.

Unwinding the trades

Hwang, a former Tiger Asia manager, ran into trouble following a March 24 stock sale by media company ViacomCBS. Archegos was heavily exposed to ViacomCBS, sources said, and the slide in stock set off alarm bells at its banks, which called on the fund for more collateral.

When the firm could not meet the demand, the banks started selling the collateral, which included shares of Baidu and Tencent Music Entertainment, among others.

While some banks were able to offload their collateral earlier, Credit Suisse still had shares left. On Monday, it offered 34 million shares of ViacomCBS priced between $41 to $42.75; 14 million American depository receipts of Vipshop Holdings between $28.50 and $29.50; and 11 million shares of Farfetch, priced between $47.50 and $49.25 in secondary offerings, a source familiar with the situation said.

The shares were the remaining holdings tied to Archegos that Credit Suisse needed to sell before tallying up losses, the source said.

ViacomCBS shares, which traded at a record of $101.97 in March, closed down 3.9% at $42.90 in regular trading. Vipshop was down 1.19% at $29.78, while Farfetch shares fell nearly 6.1% to $49.69.