Credit Suisse Group is one of the largest financial services and investment banking companies in the world and is the second-largest bank in Switzerland. Credit Suisse, which is based in Zurich, Switzerland, has nearly 50,000 employees around the world and revenues of greater than $20 billion annually. One of the largest services the institution offers is wealth management. Credit Suisse recently announced that they will be splitting up their wealth investment unit into seven distinct parts in a project they are referring to as “Project Momentum”.
Currently, the bank has its international private banking unit, also known as the wealth management business, split into four regions. However, they plan to split into seven to give management of each region a greater ability to make decisions. The effort is a part of the financial institution’s three-year overhaul of the company, in which they are shifting focus away from more volatile investment banking services and instead focusing on the less volatile wealth management. Chief Executive Offer Tidjane Thiam is leading a charge to regionalize the bank, despite the fact that it has not worked for many other multinational financial institutions.
The split into more units comes at the time when a competitor is doing the opposite. About six months ago, UBS Group AG announced that its wealth management business will be centralized into one common unit. In this sense, they merged their American and International wealth operations into one as part of an effort to cut costs. CEO Martin Blessing estimated that the centralization would lead to more than $100 million in annual cost savings for UBS Group AG.
With the new split, the seven regions will be Latin America, Brazil, Western Europe, Southern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Central and Eastern Europe. It is not clear how the added regions will affect management at this point, as the expansion to seven regions has not officially been shared with the public. When Credit Suisse was asked specifically about the decentralization, they declined to provide any comment.