Former Credit Suisse investment bank chief was probed over misconduct

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The head of Credit Suisse’s investment bank was under investigation over allegedly mistreating women when he was fired for his role in the collapse of family office Archegos Capital last year, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Brian Chin was one of several top executives to be ousted after Credit Suisse lost $5.5bn on the collapse of Archegos, the biggest trading loss in its 166-year history.

Chin, who had made his name as a rising star of the bank’s highly profitable New York-based securitisation business, was the subject of an investigation that included scrutiny of the way women on his team were treated. The internal probe, which was prompted by an anonymous tip-off in 2020 and carried out by an external law firm, was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The investigation focused on Chin’s personal conduct before 2012, according to people with knowledge of its findings, though the culture of the securitisation team he ran at the time was also considered.

“Credit Suisse took these allegations very seriously, immediately conducted a full independent investigation and took appropriate action,” the bank said in a statement.

“The bank does not condone any actions of any employee that disrespect colleagues or clients or are in violation of the bank’s code of conduct or its policies.”

In one example of the team’s culture examined by the law firm, Chin hosted an annual event for Credit Suisse clients at a Long Island golf course where the club did not allow women into the main dining room. Instead, women were restricted to an outdoor section known as “the Birdcage”.

The venue was allegedly used for events despite complaints made to Chin about its appropriateness. Credit Suisse also used the venue for other events.

Chin, who declined to comment for this article, joined Credit Suisse in 2003 and rose quickly through the ranks to become head of securitised products and co-head of fixed income for the Americas. In 2016, aged 37, he was named chief executive of global markets and a member of the executive board when his predecessor, Tim O’Hara, abruptly left after the group was forced to write down $1bn of illiquid products.

In 2020, Chin was made head of the investment bank following a restructure of the business under chief executive Thomas Gottstein.

But he was ousted from the group last April following the losses at Archegos, which emanated from the prime brokerage division that sat within his investment bank.

The bank clawed back $18mn of his pay.

Details of the investigation into his conduct are the latest in a long line of embarrassing revelations about Credit Suisse staff behaviour, including a high-profile corporate espionage scandal two years ago, a swath of executive departures over losses incurred on Archegos and specialist finance firm Greensill Capital and the departure of former chair António Horta-Osório over repeated Covid-19 quarantine violations this year.

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