Credit Suisse steps up efforts to offload risky investment bank assets

ZURICH Tue Jan 7, 2014 3:11am EST

ZURICH Jan 7 (Reuters) - Credit Suisse is stepping up efforts to scale back riskier fixed income areas squeezed by strict new regulation, it said on Tuesday.

The move reinforces a push by the Swiss bank to spread risk taking more evenly between its two main units, private banking for the wealthy and investment banking.

Credit Suisse wants the private bank to eventually account for half of the group's risk-weighted assets (RWAs), against around a third currently.

To do so, it is following rivals including UBS by restructuring its investment banking activities, which are under pressure from regulators requiring banks to set aside far more capital to cover risks.

Specifically, Credit Suisse is shrinking its interest rate trading arm, much of which will be transferred to a unit devoted to winding down discontinued business.

Credit Suisse said it planned to cut RWAs in its discontinued businesses by 58 percent by the end of 2015, compared with a target of cutting them by 41 percent previously.

It also plans to slash its leverage in the same areas by 76 percent, compared with 52 percent when it disclosed the plan in October, though the bank has made some changes to what it will transfer to the discontinued unit.

These efforts are twinned with the bank's existing goal to cut spending by more than 4.5 billion Swiss francs ($5 billion)by the end of 2015.

($1 = 0.9037 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Katharina Bart and Oliver Hirt; Editing by Mark Potter)

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