UBS agrees to pay $388 million over Credit Suisse’s Archegos failings

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ZURICH, July 24 (Reuters) – UBS (UBSG.S) has been ordered to pay $388 million to British and U.S. regulators over Credit Suisse’s dealings with private investment firm Archegos Capital Management, the Swiss bank said on Monday.

The settlement is the first of several that UBS could have to pay after it last month closed its takeover of Credit Suisse, inheriting the collapsed bank’s legal battles.

Under the agreement, UBS said Credit Suisse, now a subsidiary of the bank, has agreed to pay the U.S. Federal Reserve $269 million.

It will also pay the Bank of England 87 million pounds ($119 million), bringing the total payments to $388 million.

Reports ahead of time had suggested the U.S. regulator would impose a penalty of up to $300 million and the UK regulator would fine UBS up to 100 million pounds over the bank’s dealings with Archegos.

UBS on Monday said it would tighten up operational and risk management discipline at Credit Suisse after it completed its takeover of its smaller rival.

The bank also said it intended to resolve Credit Suisse’s remaining litigation in “the best interest of its stakeholders, including investors, clients and employees.”

UBS said in May, just before completing the deal, that it was setting aside $4 billion for potential lawsuits connected to its Credit Suisse takeover.

Although unable to levy fines, Swiss financial regulator FINMA has ordered corrective measures in the wake of the Archegos affair, including changes to the bank’s compensation culture that take more account of risk appetite.

“For employees with particular risk exposure, a control function must assess and record the risks taken before the bonus is determined,” FINMA said.

“UBS already has corresponding rules in place, which FINMA is now ordering to be legally binding,” it added.

The regulator said it has also opened enforcement proceedings against an unnamed former Credit Suisse banker linked to the affair.

Credit Suisse lost $5.5 billion when U.S. family office Archegos Capital Management defaulted in March 2021.

UBS also lost money when the hedge fund’s highly leveraged bets on certain technology stocks backfired and the value of its portfolio plummeted.

An independent report into the affair criticised the bank’s conduct, saying its losses were the result of a “fundamental failure of management and control at its investment bank, and its prime brokerage division in particular.”

The British fine is the highest levied by the Prudential Regulation Authority, part of the BoE, to date, and comes after it found Credit Suisse had breached four of its “fundamental rules”.

Breaches included not acting with due skill, care and diligence, as well as not having effective risk management strategies and controls.

“Credit Suisse’s failures to manage risks effectively were extremely serious, and created a major threat to the safety and soundness of the Firms. The seriousness and widespread nature of those failures has led to today’s fine,” said Bank of England Deputy Governor Sam Woods.

Image by: Reuters

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