Credit Suisse recovers some assets linked to Greensill, but fate of $4.6 billion remains uncertain

April 13, 2021, 5:59 PM UTC

Credit Suisse Group AG has secured over half of the outstanding cash invested by its clients in assets linked to the now insolvent Greensill Capital, but the fate of another $4.6 billion remains uncertain.

In early March, the Swiss bank froze redemptions and liquidated several supply-chain finance funds totaling $10 billion in notional value. The underlying assets had been originated and packaged by Greensill, which collapsed last month.

In an update on Tuesday, Credit Suisse said it had salvaged $5.4 billion so far, up from $3.1 billion roughly a month earlier. That leaves another $4.6 billion outstanding.

“We remain acutely aware of the uncertainty that the wind-down process creates for those of our clients who are invested in the funds,” the bank said in a statement. “We are doing everything that we can to provide them with clarity, to work through issues as they arise and, ultimately, to return cash to them.”

Shares in Credit Suisse closed down 0.16% at 9.81 euros.

The Greensill debacle marked a disastrous start to the year for the lender, which also slumped to a 4.4 billion franc ($4.8 billion) first-quarter trading loss related to the implosion of hedge fund Archegos Capital Management.

Credit Suisse said it was in close contact with Greensill administrator, Grant Thornton, and in some instances was dealing directly with delinquent parties to recoup the rest of investor cash.

The bank, which promised another update by the end of the month, said many of the underlying assets are tangible and could be seized if necessary.

“The current assessment is that there is potential for recovery in these cases,” it said, adding: “although clearly there is a considerable degree of uncertainty as to the amounts that ultimately will be distributed to investors in respect of the funds.”

Credit Suisse said it would also consider “appropriate” legal measures to protect the interests of its clients, who are likely to lose at least some of their money. 

The developments put at risk the bank’s reputation as a wealth manager specializing in the world’s most sophisticated investors and ultra-high-net-worth individuals. Nevertheless, chief executive Thomas Gottstein vowed to remain in his post.

The collapse of Greensill Capital, which specialized in financing invoices, may also have a real effect on the broader economy. Tens of thousands of jobs are now at risk because the future of businesses in Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance is in doubt without access to credit from Greensill. This includes steel mills and aluminum smelters in France, Spain, and the U.K.

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