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Credit Suisse Moves Toward Fund, Winding Down Positions

-- Sarika Gangar & Samantha Rowan

Credit Suisse is moving toward the launch of a venture that would invest in commercial real estate debt and is also working to wind down its commercial real estate book. As part of that, the firm cut another 30 positions from the team this week. The moves come in the wake of significant year-end cuts to the bank's CMBS operation that effectively signaled its exit from the sector.

The debt venture, led by Rob Brennan, global head of commercial real estate, is considering strategies such as launching either a fund or a real estate investment trust. Another option would be managing accounts for large institutional investors. Credit Suisse has selected other senior executives including Barry Polen, managing director, to help oversee investments. The firm has not yet determined the size of the venture but is said to be tossing around a $1 billion figure. It is expected to solidify its plans shortly.

A second idea that is being discussed is a separate, equity-type venture that would be led by Anthony Orso and Michael Lehrman.

Credit Suisse is said to be targeting a year-end date to sell off its $8 billion commercial real estate book, which is made up of equity and debt positions U.S.

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