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Opinion
Lionel Laurent

The Taxman Cometh for Credit Suisse

Bigger obstacles for a key plank of Thiam's strategy.

As an international tax-evasion probe ensnares Credit Suisse Group AG, the bank says it has a "zero-tolerance" policy that's more than just talk. Its weekend charm offensive flagged cash invested in compliance and risk controls, as well as business sacrificed by weeding out irregular clients.

But whatever happens in this case, it's likely that the cost of transparency for Swiss private banks -- whether through clients pulling cash or more compliance -- is going to get steeper. The business of wealth management, which has been a darling of financial markets and a key plank of Credit Suisse Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam's strategy, needs a lot of things to go right to offset the challenges ahead.