FINMA appoints investigating auditor at Credit Suisse to assess governance

27 December 2019: The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, FINMA, has put an independent auditor in place at Credit Suisse to investigate observation activities at the bank that have come to light via a number of revealing newspaper articles in the last quarter of 2019. The aim is to look at various questions related to corporate governance of the bank and compliance issues attached to this.

Particular focus will be applied to alleged ‘spying’ instances that have characterised the rivalry and disagreement between current CEO, Tidjane Thiam, and the previous head  of wealth management, Iqbal Khan. A further two ‘spying’ instances have made press headlines, including surveillance set up by ex COO, Pierre-Olivier Bouee to monitor the previous head of HR, Peter Goerke, as well as claims made by Colleen Graham, who was previously Chief Control Officer in Compliance at the firm in the US and subsequently headed up its joint venture with Palantir to create a software monitoring business called Signac (which is now defunct). She made claims recently that she was pressured into accepting unusual accounting entries to massage the figures of the business. Her reluctance led, she alleged, to her being followed and threatened. Credit Suisse claims her allegations were investigated and found to be baseless.

FINMA will provide further information once its investigation has been concluded. It will not comment further on the content of the ongoing investigation or the date when the investigation may be concluded. Typically such investigations can be expected to take several months.