Ex-private banker allegedly took $16m of customer's money

PHOTO: Ex-private banker allegedly took $16m of customer's money

A private banker at Credit Suisse Singapore is said to have siphoned off as much as US$13 million (S$16 million) from a customer's account over six years, a Swiss financial news website reported on Tuesday.

The woman who allegedly did so has been dismissed from the bank, said the Zurich-based news site Inside Paradeplatz in an online article written in German. It said she joined Credit Suisse Singapore in 2006.

The Straits Times understands that the police here are investigating the matter and that the customer has been informed.

A spokesman for Credit Suisse Singapore told The Straits Times yesterday that the bank was "not in a position to comment on this matter, pending investigations".

The spokesman added that it has "taken measures and will continue to take measures to ensure any client's interests are safeguarded".

Credit Suisse was the third-largest private bank in the Asia-Pacific region last year after UBS and Citi Private Bank, according to a report released earlier this month by Private Banker, a London-based publication on the global wealth industry.

Credit Suisse took the third spot from HSBC after buying HSBC's private banking arm in Japan in December 2011 for an undisclosed sum.

Its assets grew 31 per cent to US$117 billion last year.

The bank's head of private banking, Mr Hans-Ulrich Meister, told The Straits Times in an interview last year that private banking was its core business and it plans to grow it even larger.

The total assets under management by private banks across the Asia-Pacific region grew 16 per cent to a record US$1,173 billion last year, according to Private Banker, signalling Asia's growing affluence.

Mr Meister said last year that the bank's target segment for private banking was "entrepreneurs who have huge conglomerates, who need succession advice, investment banking services and wealth planning".

He also said that private banking contributed to 80 per cent of the bank's bottom line in 2011 but usually made up 40 per cent to 60 per cent of profits in previous years.

melissat@sph.com.sg


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