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Credit Suisse is splitting its main wealth unit into 7 regions

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[ZURICH] Credit Suisse Group is reorganising its key international wealth-management unit as chief executive officer Tidjane Thiam pushes to give the regions more decision-making powers, according to people briefed on the matter.

The unit will be broken up into seven regions from the current four, the people said, asking not to be identified because the change hasn't been made public. Each region of the business led by international wealth chief Iqbal Khan will have its own management, the people said.

Switzerland's second-biggest bank is approaching the final weeks of a broader three-year overhaul that aims to focus more on wealth management rather than volatile investment-banking services. Mr Thiam, 56, created the international wealth-management unit in 2015, when he took the helm at the lender.

Under Khan's leadership, the wealth business's adjusted pretax profit has increased 50 percent since then, and is on track to reach a target of 1.8 billion Swiss francs (S$2.49 billion) by year-end.

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An announcement about the split, dubbed "Project Momentum", could come as early as this week, according to the people. The seven regions are Latin America, Brazil, Western Europe, Southern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Credit Suisse declined to comment. The bank was up 0.3 per cent as of 10.06am in Zurich trading.

Regional Split

Credit Suisse's move to create more regions within its private bank contrasts with larger rival UBS Group AG, the world's biggest wealth manager. Earlier this year, UBS merged its two main wealth units in a move that could shave annual expenses by 100 million francs.

Mr Thiam's regional structure in private banking, which also includes Asian and Swiss units that report separately, has brought Switzerland's second largest bank some success. In the second quarter, the firm added about 9 billion francs of private-banking assets, while some rivals saw outflows.

Clients of Swiss rival Julius Baer Group added new money in the first half at the slowest pace since the end of 2016, while UBS saw outflows in the three months through June.

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