Credit Suisse: Building Benelux Presence

Following the appointment of Tidjane Thiam at Credit Suisse, a lot has changed at the Swiss Bank. Laurent Misonne (pictured), head of Benelux Third Party Distribution at Credit Suisse recently joined and discusses his plans for the region.

Immediately after being appointed, Thiam suggested shrinking the group’s investment banking unit whilst expandind its wealth management division. An opportunity for Misonne and his colleagues. Originally from Belgium, Misonne joined Credit Suisse in September in order to build the group’s presence in the Benelux market.

Within Credit Suisse, Asset Management works closely with the Private Banking and Wealth Management division. According to Misonne, a distinctive feature of the group’s asset management offering is the specialisation of its product range.

“We want to position ourselves in the marketplace around a boutique culture. By boutiques, we mean investment units with highly specialized product expertise in traditional and alternative investments and passively managed assets. Our clients therefore can benefit from direct client coverage with access to highly experienced Portfolio Managers within our Boutiques.  We also have a culture of continued focus on performance combined with a strict risk management process.”

“Fund selectors today aim to concentrate the number of providers, whereas in the past they may have worked with 200 providers, they might now only look at 30 firms, with our boutique offering and the big name we can play into this sentiment. A lot of individual boutiques lack independent control functions in reporting, we offer the advantages of a boutique but offer a clear separation of tasks and independence when it comes to reporting” he argues.

This trend is reinforced by regulatory pressures, says Misonne: “Reporting obligations have increased and people will have to be more efficient to follow 200 managers, at the same time, clients are requesting deeper information, if you are invested with many different managers at the same time, it requires a lot of resources to obtain this information.”

Whilst being responsible for the entire Benelux region, Misonne stresses that in its attempt to grow, the group needs to recognise the particularities of each individual market. Credit Suisse is well established in Luxembourg and The Netherlands and our goal is to capitalize on the appetite for our funds in Belgium. We will start by offering our flagship funds to target the wholesale market.

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