By Jack Ewing
Credit Suisse said on Thursday that it suffered a loss in the first quarter stemming from loans it made to the collapsed investment fund Archegos Capital Management, a debacle that has prompted Switzerland’s financial regulator to investigate whether the bank was doing a poor job monitoring the riskiness of its investments.
The loss of 252 million Swiss francs, about $275 million, from January through March, came after a loss of 4.4 billion francs from Archegos wiped out a big increase in revenue and forced the departure of some top executives. Credit Suisse also said on Thursday that it had sold bonds to investors to shore up its capital.
The bank, based in Zurich, has suffered a series of calamities this year that have severely damaged its reputation and finances. Swiss regulators are also investigating a spying scandal and Credit Suisse’s sale of $10 billion in funds packaged by Greensill Capital. The funds were based on financing provided to companies, many of which had low credit ratings or were not rated at all. Greensill collapsed in March, and its ties to former Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain have caused a political scandal.
The Swiss regulator, known as Finma, said it would “investigate in particular possible shortcomings in risk management” at Credit Suisse. Finma also said that it would “continue to exchange information with the competent authorities in the U.K. and the U.S.A.”
If not for the Archegos loss, Credit Suisse would have made a pretax profit of 3.6 billion francs, the bank said. Revenue for the quarter rose 30 percent to 7.6 billion francs as Credit Suisse raked in fees from lively trading on stock and bond markets.
The quarterly loss, described as “unacceptable” in a statement by the bank’s chief executive, Thomas Gottstein, compared to a profit of 1.3 billion francs in the first quarter of 2020.
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