Credit Suisse Group is considering spreading its trading, investment-banking and wealth management activities across several European locations after Brexit, three people with knowledge of the matter said.
Frankfurt, Madrid and Paris are top contenders for the bank’s trading hub, with Credit Suisse weighing a plan that includes locating investment banking, global markets and private-banking businesses in different cities, the people said, asking not to be identified because talks are private.
The Swiss bank is backing away from Dublin and Amsterdam as potential choices, two of the people said. No final decision has been taken, they said.
Credit Suisse is one of the few European lenders that have yet to outline plans for London-based operations after the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, set for March 2019. Although the company has scaled back trading to focus on wealth management, it remains one of the biggest investment banks in London, employing bankers in areas including derivatives, equities and advisory services.
The bank is talking with regulators in Germany, France and Spain about requirements for establishing a hub for EU trades, three people briefed on the matter said. Germany’s regulator, Bafin, declined to comment, as did French and Spanish regulators and a spokeswoman for Credit Suisse. Credit Suisse has already moved some jobs to Dublin, where it set up a hub last year to serve hedge-fund clients.
Credit Suisse has a full banking license in Germany and a full broker license in Spain, in addition to the wealth management hub in Luxembourg.
Credit Suisse’s Dublin operation is classified as a third-country branch rather than a full subsidiary, so it would need additional regulatory clearance to become a base for passporting into the rest of the EU.
Britain’s departure from the EU threatens to strip UK-based companies of their right to serve European clients from London. Alarmed by that prospect, US, Swiss and UK banks are all looking for new homes, weighing the demands of regulators and the needs of customers against the preferences of employees.
David Mathers, the bank’s chief financial officer, has said that Credit Suisse feels comfortable with its set-up in Europe.
UBS Group, Switzerland’s largest bank, is leaning toward Frankfurt for its trading headquarters inside the EU, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg in August.