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Küsnacht hedge fund activist attacks Credit Suisse

Küsnacht hedge fund activist attacks Credit Suisse

Küsnacht-based hedge fund firm RBR Capital Advisors is planning to break up Credit Suisse, according to the Financial Times.

At the helm of the firm is Rudolf Bohli, who already tried to shake up GAM’s board of directors earlier this year.

Now the hedge fund is planning to launch an activist campaign to split Credit Suisse into three parts: an investment bank, a wealth manager and an asset management business.

The activist investor is stepping up his effort amid dissatisfaction among some investors with the bank’s progress under the leadership of Tidjane Thiam.

RBR Capital has also secured support of Gaël de Boissard, a former Credit Suisse investment bank co-head. The Financial Times stated that he was one of the contenders for the CEO job and retains a significant personal stake in the bank.

At the moment the hedge fund firm holds a small stake in Credit Suisse, fluctuating between 0.2% and 0.3% of the share capital. It is assumed that RBR Capital has signed non-disclosure agreements with 100 other investors.

Commenting on the hedge fund manager's plans, Credit Suisse issued the following statement: ‘While we welcome the views of all our shareholders, our focus is on the implementation of our strategy and of our three-year plan, which is well on track and which we believe will unlock considerable value for our clients and shareholders.’

Performance struggles

Since Thiam joined as CEO in June 2015, the share price of Credit Suisse Group has dropped from CHF 26 to CHF 15.65 today.

In the meantime, Rudolf Bohli’s RBR European Long Short (LUX) fund returned 1.83% in Swiss franc terms over the past three years. Its technical indicator, STOXX Europe 50 CR EUR, lost 1.98% over the same period.

The average manager in the alternative Ucits – long/short equity category returned 9.1% in Swiss franc terms over the past three years.

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