On Monday, the bank published its responses to the request for information filed by the Ethos Foundation and seven Swiss pension funds concerning the “Greensill” and “Swiss Secrets” cases. These answers are a first step to enable shareholders to better understand the Greensill affair. However, Ethos considers that they remain insufficient and therefore maintains its request for a special audit at the 2022 AGM in order to have them analysed and validated by an independent third party.
As announced last week, Credit Suisse made public its answers to questions sent by Ethos regarding the “Greensill” and “Swiss Secrets” cases on Monday. These answers follow the filing of a request for information and special audit about these two cases made on 11 March by Ethos and seven Swiss pension funds.
Ethos appreciates such transparency as it allows shareholders to better understand the elements which led to the debacle and the closure of the "Supply Chain Finance" funds actively proposed by Credit Suisse Asset Management to its clients until the bankruptcy of its partner Greensill in February 2021. These responses also contain information regarding the measures the bank has already put in place or intends to put in place to prevent such scandals from happening in the future. The responses are all the more necessary since the bank's board of directors had finally refused to publish the main conclusions of the investigation report carried out by the law firm Walder Wyss on the Greensill case.
However, after an in-depth analysis Ethos considers that these responses remain insufficient. In particular, it seems strange that the board of directors only became aware of Greensill's difficulties in February 2021, as the bank claims, when several signals could have alerted it long before, such as the cancellation of its IPO scheduled for the last quarter of 2020 or the fact, as reported by the media, that no major audit firm had then agreed to take over Greensill's mandate as auditor. It seems equally surprising that the termination of Greensill's insurance contracts was only communicated six days before maturity even though they were key elements of the risk profile of the funds distributed by Credit Suisse.
Furthermore, Credit Suisse has not agreed at this stage to have some of its answers verified by an independent auditor as part of a simplified "negative assurance" procedure, which was a condition for Ethos to withdraw its shareholder resolution requesting a special audit of the bank. “This approach would have been simpler and faster than a special audit and would have made it possible to clear out certain interrogations”, regrets Vincent Kaufmann, CEO of Ethos.
In light of the doubts that remain regarding the completeness of Credit Suisse's responses and the fact that the bank is unable to provide a “negative assurance” from an independent party at this time, Ethos has decided to maintain its request for special audit. Shareholders will therefore decide at the general meeting on April 29 whether they want the answers provided by Credit Suisse to be reviewed by an independent expert appointed by a judge. Ethos, for its part, calls on all shareholders to exercise their voting rights and recommends that they approve item 8 of the agenda.