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Shareholders demand answers over UBS rescue deal

A Credit score Suisse Group AG financial institution department in Bern, Switzerland, on Thursday, March 16, 2023.

Stefan Wermuth | Bloomberg | Getty Photos

Shareholders are gathering at Credit score Suisse‘s annual normal assembly Tuesday to demand solutions and accountability over its controversial takeover by UBS.

A police presence was established early Tuesday on the venue as shareholders started arriving in droves.

Swiss authorities brokered an emergency rescue of the stricken financial institution by its bigger home rival for simply 3 billion Swiss francs, over the course of a weekend in late March. It adopted a collapse in Credit score Suisse’s deposits and share value amid fears of a worldwide banking disaster, however the deal stays mired in authorized and logistical challenges. Neither UBS nor Credit score Suisse shareholders had been allowed a vote on the deal.

In an announcement Sunday, the workplace of the legal professional normal confirmed that Switzerland’s Federal Prosecutor is investigating potential breaches of Swiss federal regulation by authorities officers, regulators and prime executives at Credit score Suisse and UBS.

Each banks declined to touch upon Monday.

Commentators have highlighted the significance of the deal’s success for Swiss authorities in opposition to a febrile political backdrop. The dearth of enter from shareholders, bondholders and Swiss taxpayers in UBS’ acquisition of its embattled rival has sparked widespread anger.

Talking outdoors the annual assembly, Vincent Kaufmann, CEO of Ethos Basis which represents pension funds comprising between 3% and 5% of Credit score Suisse shareholders, advised CNBC that that they had “misplaced some huge cash” and “have to know what administration is doing.”

Potential programs of motion embrace “making an attempt to retrieve a number of the viable pay that was granted for former administration, who might have failed of their duties to guard shareholders’ pursuits,” he mentioned.

“We’re nonetheless on the lookout for potentialities — it is fairly troublesome with the Swiss firm regulation to show the injury. Mismanagement of an organization just isn’t per se one thing we are able to concretely act in opposition to former members of the administration or present members of the administration, however nonetheless we have to ensure that they gave the entire reality to buyers and to the market, so there’s nonetheless open query,” Kaufmann advised CNBC’s Joumanna Bercetche.

Holders of Credit score Suisse’s AT1 bond devices, which had been topic to a $17 billion wipeout as a part of the UBS takeover, final week instructed a worldwide regulation agency to pursue dialogue and doable litigation with Swiss authorities.

“There’s nonetheless an opportunity that the varied actors will acknowledge and proper the errors made in unexpectedly orchestrating this merger,” Thomas Werlen, managing companion at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, which is representing a “various array” of affected bondholders in Switzerland, the U.Ok. and U.S., mentioned in a launch Monday.

“Whereas we’re definitely ready to pursue no matter proceedings are crucial, a possible constructive engagement with the related stakeholders might forestall years of litigation. That shall be an vital focus for us over the approaching weeks.”

UBS introduced final week that former CEO Sergio Ermotti would return to the helm of the brand new financial institution because it undertakes the massive process of integrating its fallen compatriot into its enterprise.

UBS will maintain its personal AGM on Wednesday, with additional readability anticipated on plans for the brand new built-in lender. Swiss regulator FINMA will even maintain a press convention on Wednesday.

Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger reported Sunday, citing one supply, that plans for the brand new entity embrace a 20%-30% lower to its mixed world workforce.