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Credit Suisse plans new $1bn share buyback programme

By Charlotte Ricca

Buyback scheme aims to boost bank’s shares which have halved in past five years

Credit Suisse plans to start a new share buyback programme in 2020, of least 1bn Swiss francs ($1.03bn, £784.5m) worth of shares.

The bank completed a similar programme last year, repurchasing 79,818,000 shares on a second trading line on SIX Swiss Exchange for a total of just over 1bn Swiss francs, at an average purchase price per share of 12.53 francs.

The Credit Suisse board of directors has approved a buyback of up to 1.5bn francs worth of shares in 2020. Credit Suisse expects to buy back shares of at least 1bn francs, subject to market and economic conditions.

The share repurchase programme will end on December 30, 2020 at the latest.

The buyback schemes are intended to boost the bank’s performance, following a restructuring programme by chief executive Tidjane Thiam.

Thiam joined Credit Suisse in 2015 from UK insurer Prudential, where he had doubled the share price in six years.

During his time at the Swiss bank he has focused on more stable wealth management and private banking businesses, particularly in Asia. However, the bank’s shares have halved.

Thiam’s reputation was further damaged by a personal drama, closely followed by the press. Reportedly, there was rivalry between Thiam and Credit Suisse’s former head of wealth management, Iqbal Khan.

Khan left the bank in July to join UBS, only to discover he was being followed by investigators, allegedly appointed by Credit Suisse to find out if he was poaching staff.

In a bid to make amends, Credit Suisse commissioned a law firm to review "spygate", which resulted in the resignation of chief operating officer Pierre-Olivier Bouée.

Credit Suisse said there was no evidence to suggest Thiam was aware of the spying.

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