Credit Suisse’s PBI team and the push to serve the missing middle
Raffael Gasser is a hybrid: part Zurich wealth manager, part Silicon Valley disruptor. He was tasked with crunching data to serve ‘classic’ PB customers who sit just below the ultra-wealthy segment and are often, curiously, overlooked. Here is how he got on.
When Philipp Wehle was elevated to chief executive of International Wealth Management (IWM) at Credit Suisse in July 2019, replacing Iqbal Khan after the latter’s acrimonious departure to UBS, he wasn’t exactly a new broom.
The genial banker had been with the Swiss wealth manager for a decade and a half, in which time he had steadily climbed the corporate ladder.
Yet all promotions result in internal changes at financial institutions – whether necessary or not. In Wehle’s case, he had spotted an area of the market that was curiously under-served, and where Credit Suisse should have been excelling but wasn’t.
[Wehle] felt there was an opportunity to create a broader unit dedicated to classic private banking clients
A few months later, he unveiled a new division targeting that segment. He called it Private Banking International (PBI) and installed Raffael Gasser, a 10-year Credit Suisse veteran and former Goldman Sachs analyst, as its inaugural head.
“Wehle thought we weren’t doing that well in ‘classic’ private banking – that we weren’t growing to our potential,” Gasser tells Euromoney.