Among the very last things in the world Credit Suisse needs at the moment (admittedly a very long list) is yet another legal or regulatory investigation. These probes generally turn up evidence that Credit Suisse has done something wrong, because if a bank that’s issued six profit warnings in seven quarters is doing something it’s probably doing it wrong.
So CEO Thomas Gottstein & co., already busy dealing with the fallout from the latest embarrassing revelation of what he and others in his position desperately like to call “legacy issues,” as well as a board shakeup resulting from those legacy (and also more recent) issues, and a need to (allegedly) ask clients to start shredding to avoid further headaches from further legacy issues (which went about as well as the last such alleged effort), and having just been swept up into the U.S. investigation into block-trading, cannot have been thrilled to find out that they’d also been drawn in to another of Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler’s obsessions, bankers’ use of unmonitored messaging apps to communicate with clients. So it must have been a relief when Credit Suisse’s usually hapless Keystone Kops were able to pin it on one guy. Sure, Anthony Kontoleon had been with the bank for 28 years and ran its equity capital markets syndicate, and sure he hadn’t actually done anything nefarious in those improper communications, but his was a scalp Gottstein could present, prostrate, to Gensler in a grisly plea for mercy.
Credit Suisse’s management hoped that a high-profile departure such as that of Kontoleon would be seen by US regulators as a sign that the bank was taking the matter seriously…. In a further sign of Credit Suisse’s worries over the record-keeping issue, the bank in December asked its employees to let it access their personal mobile phones and other devices if they used them to communicate with clients or colleagues.
For more of the latest in litigation, regulation, deals and financial services trends, sign up for Finance Docket, a partnership between Breaking Media publications Above the Law and Dealbreaker.