Credit Suisse hires former AMP chief to lead wealth management

Credit Suisse has hired the former chief executive of Australian finance group AMP to run its revamped wealth management division, as the Swiss lender tries to win market share from its domestic rival UBS.

Francesco De Ferrari, who worked for Credit Suisse between 2002 and 2018, left AMP in June after a tough two years running the Australian wealth manager.

António Horta-Osório, chair of Credit Suisse, said De Ferrari’s experience of previously working at the Swiss bank’s wealth division in Asia and Europe would stand him in good stead.

“He will undoubtedly play a crucial role in delivering on the group’s new strategy towards a much stronger, more client-centric bank, with leading global businesses and regional franchises,” said Horta-Osório.

Expanding the wealth management is a top priority for the bank, and its ambitions were the main target of a strategy day to investors last month, as the investment bank is pared back.

In doing so, the lender intends to prove a tougher competitor to rival UBS, whose wealth business has left Credit Suisse trailing in the past couple of years.

Credit Suisse’s wealth business was at the centre of a corporate espionage scandal two years ago after its head, Iqbal Khan, defected to UBS and was trailed through the streets of Zurich by investigators hired by his former employer.

Philipp Wehle, who had been chief executive of Credit Suisse’s international wealth management business since 2019, will become chief finance officer of the wealth management business.

The appointments were finalised at a board meeting held in New York last week.

De Ferrari had a bruising stint at the top of AMP, which was criticised over its handling of a sexual harassment case, while shareholders were unhappy over the group’s dealmaking record.

The rehiring of De Ferrari came alongside the departure of one of the two women on Credit Suisse’s top executive team, Lydie Hudson, who oversaw sustainability, research and investment solutions, as well as being a champion of diversity at the lender.

The bank will bring in Joanne Hannaford from the start of next year as chief technology and operations officer. Hudson had previously been in charge of compliance, but was given a new role in an executive reshuffle last year.

Credit Suisse also confirmed the executive board for its new structure, which it announced last month.

In addition to wealth management, De Ferrari will lead the bank’s European, Middle East and African operations on an interim basis. Under the changes, investment bank chief Christian Meissner will have oversight for the Americas. Andre Helfenstein, who is head of the Swiss retail bank, will also oversee its overall Swiss operations.

Ulrich Körner will continue as head of asset management, while longtime Credit Suisse executive Helman Sitohang will be in charge of the Asia-Pacific region.

Thomas Gottstein, Credit Suisse chief executive, added: “With these appointments, as well as the appointment of Christian as CEO of the Americas region, the bank’s new divisional and regional structure is now complete and I am looking forward to working with all my executive board colleagues on executing our new strategy from January 1, 2022.”

Minnie Arwood

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