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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Kalyeena Makortoff

Credit Suisse axes top bosses’ bonuses after biggest loss since financial crisis

The logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse in Zurich, Switzerland
Credit Suisse reported a £6.6bn net loss for the whole of 2022. Photograph: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

Credit Suisse has scrapped its annual bonus for top executives after the scandal-hit Swiss bank reported its worst full-year loss since the 2008 banking crisis.

The lender on Thursday revealed a 7.3bn Swiss francs (£6.6bn) net loss for 2022, as clients withdrew their cash at a dizzying pace and the bank experienced a significant drop in income from its wealth, asset management and investment management divisions.

The bank said none of its executives, including the new chief executive, Ulrich Körner, would receive bonuses after the poor performance. Meanwhile, the total 2022 bonus pool for Credit Suisse bankers has been reduced by 50%, with senior managers taking a bigger cut to their annual payouts than their junior colleagues.

However, executives and about 500 senior managers are reportedly in line to share a 350m Swiss franc payout if the bank’s restructuring programme proves a success.

It is the bank’s second consecutive year in the red, with losses having ballooned from a 1.7bn Swiss francs net loss in 2021. The bank warned that profits would not recover this year, and that the cost of sweeping restructuring efforts would probably result in a “substantial loss before taxes in 2023”.

The bank confirmed in October that its restructuring plans – which will put more focus on the bank’s asset management division for wealthy clients and shrinking its investment banking operations – would involve axing 9,000 jobs and spinning out part of its investment bank under the brand CS First Boston.

The overhaul follows a series of scandals in recent years. Credit Suisse was embroiled in the collapse of the lender Greensill Capital and the US hedge fund Archegos Capital in 2021. That year, it also admitted defrauding investors as part of the Mozambique “tuna bonds” loan scandal, resulting in a fine worth more than £350m.

In 2022, Swiss prosecutors found the bank guilty of helping to launder money on behalf of the Bulgarian mafia. The bank has denied wrongdoing and said it would appeal against the ruling.

Credit Suisse also came under fire after the Suisse secrets investigation, which showed it had served clients involved in torture, drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption and other serious crimes over decades.

Commenting on the full-year results, Körner said: “2022 was a crucial year for Credit Suisse. We announced our strategic plan to create a simpler, more focused bank, built around client needs and since October we have been executing at pace.”

“We have a clear plan to create a new Credit Suisse and intend to continue to deliver on our three-year strategic transformation by reshaping our portfolio, reallocating capital, right-sizing our cost base and building on our leading franchises,” he added.

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