Credit Suisse Group AG agreed to pay $196.5 million and admit wrongdoing to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges that it provided cross-border brokerage and investment advisory services to U.S. clients without first registering with the regulator. Credit Suisse is now the 5th bank since last June to admit wrongdoing under the revised enforcement policy enacted by SEC Chair Mary Jo White.
Credit Suisse began conducting cross-border advisory and brokerage services for U.S. clients as early as 2002. According to the SEC, from 2002 to 2008 Credit Suisse’s cross-border advisory and brokerage services operations made an estimated 107 secretive trips to the United States. In the process it amassed as many as 8,500 U.S. client accounts that held an average of $5.6 billion of securities assets under management.
According to the SEC, Credit Suisse was aware of the registration requirements, but failed to effectively implement and monitor internal controls designed to keep its employees from becoming non-compliant.
Credit Suisse began shutting down the business in late 2008 soon after news surfaced about a civil and criminal investigation into similar conduct by another Swiss bank, UBS AG. It took Credit Suisse until mid-2013 to fully exit the cross border business.
Credit Suisse has publicly said it was pleased to settle, and is working to resolve a separate U.S. Department of Justice probe into tax-related matters.