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Wealth management: Credit Suisse looks set to acquire in the US

The Swiss bank is making determined efforts to grow its US private banking business.

It’s been a long-time coming but Credit Suisse is now building up its private banking business in the US. Although an important force in wealth management in Europe and Asia, the bank has done little to make a mark in the US since it inherited the private client arm of investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette in 2000.

Gary Neuser, managing director of Credit Suisse and head of private banking USA, says that the firm now has a three-year plan in place to build out the private banking business in the country.

Neuser joined from UBS Wealth Management in March 2005 to focus on expanding Credit Suisse’s private banking offering. “Essentially US private client businesses have depended on retail brokerages serving middle-class and upper-class Americans,” he says. “But that market has become saturated and margins are shrinking as a result.”

Neuser says that large institutions in the US have therefore been trying to figure out how to penetrate the high net-worth space, which has led to some carving out high net-worth client offerings from retail brokerage businesses. Credit Suisse doesn’t have a retail brokerage business, and will be using its current private banking platform as the basis for expansion.

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