Credit Suisse Seeks to Boost Profits in U.S., Europe Wealth Unit

Credit Suisse Group AG, Switzerland’s second-biggest bank, is working to boost profitability of its wealth-management businesses in the U.S. and western Europe, Chief Executive Officer Brady Dougan said.

Credit Suisse seeks to “enhance efficiency” in its onshore wealth-management units in western Europe and expand product offerings in the U.S., Dougan, 53, said today at an investor conference in New York.

Credit Suisse plans to cut 4.4 billion francs ($4.6 billion) in annual costs by the end of 2015 and has already achieved about 2.5 billion francs in savings. The bulk of future savings will come from private banking and wealth management, as well as infrastructure, Dougan said.

Credit Suisse expects “solid growth” in its Swiss and emerging-markets wealth-management businesses, which together make up about 70 percent of total assets under management, while “moderate outflows” will probably continue from the cross-border clients in western Europe, Dougan said. The Zurich-based firm will be “opportunistic” on wealth-management acquisitions, he said.

Dougan said he welcomed the Swiss government’s proposed framework by which the country’s banks can resolve their issues around undeclared U.S. accounts.

“It’s our hope and expectation that it will lead to a reasonable and swift resolution of the matter,” Dougan said.

Credit Suisse has been a target of a criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department over former cross-border private-banking services to American customers since at least July 2011 and has been cooperating with authorities. The Justice Department is also investigating at least two dozen other Swiss banks on similar issues.

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