Credit Suisse says some clients may want to move wealth assets after UBS deal-memo

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By Engen Tham and Julie Zhu

SHANGHAI/HONG KONG, March 20 (Reuters) – Credit Suisse told staff its wealth assets are operationally separate from UBS for now, but once they merged clients might want to consider moving some assets to another bank if concentration was a concern, according to an internal memo.

The memo, dated Sunday and seen by Reuters, gave talking points to Credit Suisse staff for client conversations after a historic Swiss-backed acquisition of the troubled bank by UBS Group .

“For now, assets are still legally separated. Once that changes, you (clients) may of course want to consider moving some of your assets to another bank if concentration is a concern,” the memo said.

That response was suggested to Credit Suisse staff if they were asked by clients what they should do if they were also a UBS client and wanted to avoid too much asset concentration, which can be a concern for wealthy customers.

In a package orchestrated by Swiss regulators on Sunday, UBS will pay 3 billion Swiss francs ($3.23 billion) for 167-year-old Credit Suisse and assume up to $5.4 billion in losses.

UBS will become the undisputed global leader in managing money for the wealthy through the takeover of its main rival, triggering some concerns about concentration risks for clients.

Credit Suisse also told staff to inform clients that plans for its investment banking business will be communicated in due course as details of its acquisition by UBS were still being worked out, according to the memo.

“We do not expect there to be any disruption to client services. We are fully focused on ensuring a smooth transition and seamless experience for our valued clients and customers,” a Credit Suisse spokesperson said.

Credit Suisse is also going ahead with its annual Asia Investment Conference in Hong Kong, starting on Tuesday, the spokesperson said, adding the event, however, would now be closed to media.

In a separate memo on Sunday, the bank told employees that its day-to-day operations were unaffected after it agreed to the UBS takeover.

“Our branches and our global offices will remain open, and all colleagues are expected to and should continue to come to work,” Credit Suisse said in the memo sent globally and seen by Reuters.

Reuters reported on Friday, citing sources, that a number of major banks including Societe Generale SA SOGN.PA and Deutsche Bank AG were restricting new trades involving Credit Suisse or its securities.

Regarding counterparties having stopped business with Credit Suisse, the bank said in the client talking points memo that it believed the transaction “will help to restore confidence to the financial markets more broadly.”

Market players remain concerned about the next moves at Credit Suisse and the impact on employees, investors and clients.

UBS Chairman Colm Kelleher told a media conference that it would wind down Credit Suisse’s investment bank, which has thousands of employees worldwide. UBS said it expected annual cost savings of some $7 billion by 2027.

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