FINMA Credit Suisse Investigation Could See Executive Overhaul

The bank is being investigated for spying on its own personnel.

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) is looking into Credit Suisse’s oversight of its chief executive officer Tidjane Thiam and his top lieutenants as part of its investigation into corporate espionage, according to a report from Reuters.

The Swiss regulator is looking into whether it was management control failures that contributed to Credit Suisse snooping on two former executives, according to the article published by the news outlet which cites people with direct knowledge of the investigation, without providing their names. 

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The investigation could lead to FINMA ordering the Swiss bank to overhaul its leadership, which could see the regulator ask for the resignation of any executive or board member if it found they failed to act in a ‘fit and proper’ manner, the people said.

Nearly every large-scale company, including lenders, employs some sort of oversight program. Many of these steps are designed to improve accountability and transparency in what is a massive industry, responsible for the handling of millions of dollars every day.

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It appears Credit Suisse has overstepped its bounds, instead opting to spy on former executives outwardly. According to the report from Reuters, the investigation is still in the early stages and no conclusions have yet been made.

Credit Suisse says purely speculation

However, a spokesman for Credit Suisse said any suggestion that FINMA would focus on its senior management or its directors was speculation to the news outlet.

“Such speculation is unfounded and serves only to pre-judge the outcome of what is an audit and not an enforcement action,” the spokesman told the news outlet. “FINMA will conduct an independent audit which is not an enforcement. The final decree has not yet been issued and an auditor has not been appointed.”

Furthermore, the Swiss bank has said Thiam was unaware of the surveillance and said former Chief Operating Officer Pierre-Olivier Bouee, a longtime confidant of Thiam, initiated it in a solo run.

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