Credit Suisse boss commits to One Bank vision
New Credit Suisse chief executive Brady Dougan tells swissinfo that he will continue with the integrated One Bank approach initiated by his predecessor.
As the bank announced strong second-quarter results on Thursday, Dougan said he is also committed to improving operational efficiency during a time of turbulence in the sector.
Credit Suisse dramatically cut its exposure to the US subprime mortgage market – lending to borrowers with bad credit ratings – after being among a number of financial institutions hit by a spate of defaults in recent months.
Dougan is the first US citizen to be appointed in sole executive charge of Switzerland's second-biggest bank when Oswald Grübel stepped down three months ago.
swissinfo: What are your strategic priorities as new Credit Suisse CEO?
Brady Dougan: We believe we have the right fundamental strategy in pursuing high value-added business in private banking, asset management and investment banking. Within each of those areas there are going to be growth opportunities.
We will also continue to pursue efficiency initiatives. Lastly, I want to make sure the bank operates on an integrated basis and drive those programmes forward.
swissinfo: Are you committed to the One Bank strategy?
B.D.: We see the value of the One Bank system with our clients and our employees every day. It is so much better to go to a private banking client and say we can also offer to finance your commercial real estate and we can offer you these alternative asset management products that without an integrated bank it would be difficult to sell.
I also see the great potential of all the IPOs [initial public offerings: when a company first offers shares to the public] and all the M&A [mergers and acquisitions] advisory where we create wealth for individuals. Seeing those individuals become clients of the private bank is a tremendous opportunity.
swissinfo: What are the main challenges for the banking sector?
B.D.: Subprime has clearly been a prominent problem and will continue to be a feature. More recently the liquidity in the leveraged finance market [providing loans for company takeovers] has been a feature and the equity markets have been volatile in the last couple of weeks.
We will continue to see those things come into different markets at different times and we need to make sure that we have a business model that can hold up to those volatilities and perform well throughout the cycle.
swissinfo: What geographical areas are most important for Credit Suisse in the near future?
B.D.: Clearly Asia Pacific is a fast-growing region and we have a good position there. Europe is certainly becoming more and more important and Switzerland continues to be a market where we have a strong position and where there is room for growth. We have good growth prospects all over the world.
swissinfo: Is it an issue having a non-Swiss as CEO for the first time?
B.D.: I don't think so. I have been at the bank a long time – I have spent a lot of time in all of our businesses around the world and in Switzerland. I feel like I know the business and the people well and that's more important than nationality.
swissinfo-interview: Matthew Allen in Zurich
Former Credit Suisse CEO Oswald Grübel introduced a One Bank strategy in 2006 designed to encourage the three main businesses – private banking, investment banking and asset management – to introduce new business opportunities for each other.
Current CEO Brady Dougan admitted that it is hard to quantify exactly how successful the policy is some 18 months after its introduction. It was particularly difficult to put a figure on savings, for example for integrated IT, without knowing the cost of the old system in today's climate.
But he gave examples of how the group had benefited from the different franchises introducing clients to each other.
He estimates that some 8% of new net assets in the first half of this year were the result of collaboration between business groups. And a third of all initial public offerings that the group advised on led to new private banking business.
Brady Dougan was appointed Credit Suisse group chief executive in May 2007, taking over from Oswald Grübel.
He joined Credit Suisse First Boston (now Credit Suisse Investment Bank) in 1990.
He was named head of the equities division in 1996 and global head of securities five years later. From 2002 to 2004 he served as co-president of the bank's institutional services department. He was appointed investment bank CEO in 2004 where he cut down on perks and brought down costs.
He also served as CEO of Credit Suisse Americas, with an oversight of private banking, investment banking and asset management in the region.
Dougan was replaced as investment banking CEO by Paul Calello who was previously in charge of the Asia Pacific region.
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