Credit Suisse is shutting down its on-the-ground private banking operations in Peru and Venezuela following a recent strategic assessment, Citywire Americas can reveal.
The Swiss private bank announced the news internally to its employees in both countries on Wednesday, according to industry sources. A spokesperson for the firm confirmed the news to Citywire Americas.
The offices in Lima, Peru and Caracas, Venezuela served as representative offices for local clients advised and booked through Switzerland.
‘Following a recent strategy assessment, which indicated that there is no longer a need for a dedicated contact on the ground in Peru and Venezuela, Credit Suisse has decided to phase out the private banking activities in the Peru representative office and intends to close the Venezuela representative office over the course of 2018 (subject to regulatory approval),’ the firm said in a statement to Citywire Americas.
Credit Suisse added that it remains committed to the Peru and Venezuela markets, and that clients in the two countries will continue to be served through the Swiss hub.
As for the staff of these offices, Credit Suisse said it was 'defining a decision for each employee.'
Credit Suisse has investment banking and capital markets operations in Peru, which will remain open.
It offers clients in Latin America booking platforms in Switzerland, Brazil, Mexico and the Bahamas. In addition, the firm has a wealth management representative office in Colombia and advisory offices in Brazil, Mexico and Chile. All these operations remain open.
In a separate move in August 2017, Credit Suisse banned its traders from buying or selling Venezuelan bonds and restricted business with private companies in that country.
The ban, which was understood to apply to the firm's private bankers, followed rising sanctions against Venezuela as the international community accused president Nicolás Maduro's government of human rights abuses and of eroding his country's democracy.
In 2016, Credit Suisse’s wealth division saw outflows of almost CHF 5.7 billion ($5.66bn) largely due to tax amnesty programs in Latin America, according to the firm’s results. The Swiss private bank is set to release its 2017 results on February 14.
Credit Suisse has also been looking to cut costs since its chief executive Tidjane Thaim announced a three-year strategic plan to refocus the business toward wealth management and put less emphasis on investment banking in 2015.