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March 7, 2022updated 23 Mar 2022 1:09pm

Credit Suisse triggers margin calls to wealth clients over Russian assets

Understand the impact of the Ukraine conflict from a cross-sector perspective with the Global Data Executive Briefing: Ukraine Conflict


Credit Suisse wealth management clients, who use Russian assets as collateral, have received margin calls from the Swiss private bank after a slump in the value of assets linked to Russia, reported Bloomberg.

The bank asked its wealthy clients to post more collateral after slashing lending values on Russian securities, unnamed sources privy to the development told the news agency.

Further information on the extent of the margin calls is not available. It is also not known whether all have been met.

Credit Suisse told PBI that its position in the matter remains unchanged.

“Credit Suisse serves its clients while complying with all applicable laws and regulations, including any sanctions from relevant authorities,” the firm said.

The Swiss investment bank assigned a zero lending value for certain Russian bonds last week, indicating that it will no longer accept the debt as collateral.

Russian’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent sanctions on the country by the US and Europe has led asset manager to freeze Russian assets and demand more collateral from their clients.

The sanctions have restricted Russia’s potential to use reserves to defend its currency, leading to the tumbling of the ruble.

As part of the sanctions, a majority of Russia’s top lenders and other financial institutions were blocked from the parts of the global financial system. These include expulsion of seven Russian banks from the international payment system SWIFT.

Last week, UBS triggered margin calls on wealth management customers in a bid to limit its exposure to Russian assets.

The bank urged the investors to add either cash or securities to their portfolio after slashing the lending value of some debt from Russia to zero.

Banks such as Banque Pictet&Cie are also cutting lending values in a similar move.

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