US investor Harris Associates has reduced its stake in Credit Suisse to around half of its holding six months ago.
Once a top-three shareholder in the Swiss lender, Harris Associates now owns less than 3%, according to an 11 January regulatory filing on the Swiss Stock Exchange. This is down from its ownership of around 10% of the bank’s stock as recently as June.
The reduction means the asset management subsidiary of Natixis Investment Managers is now free from the obligation to disclose the size of its position to the Swiss bourse — a mandatory requirement when a shareholder owns more than 3% of a company.
However, David Herro, chief investment officer of international equities at Harris Associates, told Financial News the asset manager currently holds just under 5% of Credit Suisse shares.
He added reporting requirements differed between jurisdictions and how ownership is recorded, which explained the difference in shareholding.
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Herro said its shareholding had been reduced as a result of “capital dilution” following a recent CHF4bn capital raise by Credit Suisse, as well as “year-end outflows [and] distributions”.
Harris Associates participated in the recent capital raise, which closed in December, Herro added.
The rights issue was a cornerstone of Credit Suisse’s strategic review, announced on 27 October, amid the bank’s efforts to overcome multiple quarters of losses.
Credit Suisse’s review included plans to spin out its investment banking unit into a separate business called CS First Boston, creating a ‘bad bank’ for $35bn in unwanted assets, and pulling back from trading while focusing on wealth management.
Credit Suisse’s largest investors — who hold just under 10% between them — comprise Saudi National Bank, Qatar Holding, BlackRock and Olayan Group, according to the bank’s website.
Chicago-headquartered Harris Associates has stuck with Credit Suisse during a series of recent scandals, including its exposure to the Greensill and Archegos blowups.
Herro told FN in January last year that he hoped the Swiss bank would be “revitalised” following a shake-up of the board that ousted chair Sir António Horta-Osório.
Credit Suisse announced Horta-Osório’s departure in a surprise statement last January, after he was found to have breached Covid-19 rules. He had been in the role for just eight months.
Credit Suisse declined to comment.
To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email David Ricketts
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