UBS to Close Majority of Russian Accounts at Credit Suisse
Swiss bank UBS is planning to close up to 75% of its Russian clients' accounts that were transferred to it after acquiring troubled bank Credit Suisse. This change primarily affects individuals with Russian passports who reside abroad and use Credit Suisse services on an international basis, as reported by Swiss publication NZZ.
According to sources cited by the newspaper, UBS considers the risks associated with dealing with such clients to be excessively high, prompting the bank to adopt a more conservative approach compared to Credit Suisse, while maintaining risk management principles across the entire merged organization.
UBS also intends to part ways with certain other clients from different jurisdictions, although such cases are likely to be rare, given the bank's concern for its reputation.
UBS has long been cautious in its dealings with Russian businesses. Since 1999, UBS's compliance department has viewed Russia with suspicion, and since 2014, after the Crimea annexation, the bank ceased entering into new agreements with Russian clients. In contrast, Credit Suisse took advantage of this opportunity to expand its business, viewing its Russian branch as a profitable instrument that generated higher revenue than the average.
In March, Credit Suisse found itself in a precarious situation and was "rescued" with the help of the Swiss government and the country's financial regulator, as UBS agreed to acquire its competitor for $3.25 billion. This was a necessary step since Credit Suisse lost the trust of its depositors after its main shareholder, the National Bank of Saudi Arabia, refused to provide additional funding. The merger was announced to be completed in June.
As a result of the merger with UBS, Credit Suisse faced significant layoffs due to the uncertainty surrounding the deal. Bank employees anticipated restructuring and substantial job cuts following the agreement. In late June, UBS announced plans to lay off a substantial portion of Credit Suisse's workforce as part of the merger process.
In July, the National Bank of Ukraine announced its decision to nationalize one of the country's leading commercial banks, Sense Bank, which was previously owned by Russian citizens. As of October 2022, the beneficiaries were Russian-Israeli oligarchs Andrey Kosogov (40.96%), Petr Aven (12.4%), and Mikhail Fridman (32.86%).