By Margot Patrick 

Credit Suisse Group AG hired Christian Meissner, a Bank of America Corp. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. veteran, to head a new unit connecting its wealthiest clients with its investment bank.

Mr. Meissner was previously head of corporate and investment banking at Bank of America until 2018, helping reshape the unit after its financial-crisis merger with Merrill Lynch & Co. In the role, he oversaw an effort to pare the corporate and investment bank's customer roster and focus on fewer, more lucrative, clients.

Credit Suisse said Mr. Meissner will start later this month as co-head of international wealth-management investment banking advisory and vice chairman of investment banking.

Credit Suisse has been reorganizing and integrating units in an effort to pull more revenue from its rich clients by offering them access to deals and other business handled through Credit Suisse's investment bank. It said in July it would start the new advisory arm. Its co-head is Babak Dastmaltschi.

Credit Suisse said it would gain Mr. Meissner's "longstanding corporate and private-equity relationships with clients globally."

The hire comes as competition has stiffened to bank billionaire entrepreneurs and wealthy families, a longtime specialty of Credit Suisse and larger rival UBS Group AG. Both banks have said the world's rich want more access to private-market investments and bespoke financing, and have been knitting together parts of their wealth-management and investment-banking units to tap the demand.

Before he joined Bank of America in 2010, Austrian-born Mr. Meissner worked for years as an investment banker in Europe at Goldman Sachs and at Lehman Brothers.

In July, Credit Suisse's new chief executive since February, Thomas Gottstein, said the Swiss lender would combine most of its fragmented trading and investment-banking businesses to free up cash to invest in other parts of the bank. I

Swiss and European banks generally are trying to replace revenue eroded across their businesses by persistently low or negative interest rates. At the same time, bad loans are rising because of the coronavirus pandemic. Credit Suisse has performed better than some other big global banks in navigating the pandemic so far, because of its focus on lending to households and companies in Switzerland, and the world's wealthy.

Mr. Meissner will report to Philipp Wehle, head of international wealth management, and to Brian Chin, head of Credit Suisse's investment bank.

Write to Margot Patrick at margot.patrick@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 13, 2020 15:04 ET (19:04 GMT)

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