Credit Suisse provides companies, institutional clients and high-net-worth private clients worldwide, as well as retail clients in Switzerland, with advisory services, comprehensive solutions, and excellent products. Here Wenceslao Bunge, Managing Director and Global Co-head of the Real Estate Group at Credit Suisse, talks about the company's latest successful transactions and outlines the Group's strategy for the future.
Where is Credit Suisse heading today?
Credit Suisse has been adapting itself to the new realities; I think that today's world requires financial institutions to be agile, to adapt themselves to the new realities, the new regulations and the new economy. Credit Suisse has a history of over 150 years as a bank. One of its strengths has been the private bank, as it is a much more recurrent business. Putting it in real estate terms, a private bank means recurrent revenues, while an investment bank means development, riskier activity with higher returns.
I am focused on investment banking, which is more of a non-recurrent business and in an environment like this it's a much more challenging business than it used to be four or five years ago. Relatively I think that Credit Suisse is doing extremely well, since the whole sector is suffering a lot. We still have a very strong franchise globally and within real estate we are one of the top three to five banks, depending on which country or which product you are looking at. We focus on certain types of transactions and help clients where we can have value. We have been very active in raising capital for large corporations and we are looking for long-term partners who will work with us even in the tough times that we are going through.
What have you been working on last year?
We have some very important advantages; one in emerging markets where we have been extremely active, for example in Latin America and in Asia. On the European side the market has been quite slow, but having said that, we are pleased to have been very active in the few transactions that took place. Right now we are involved in many M&A activities and we can see that the market is starting to pick up again. We have done two very high-profile transactions over the last couple of years in the UK; we assisted Qatar Holding to acquire Harrod's and we helped in the Regent street acquisition, when Norges Bank made its first investment in real estate.
And in the future, what would you like to get involved in?
I think that what investors in general really want is assets with good managers, with people that are here for the long term. Europe is suffering greatly from the lack of liquidity and the lack of investment opportunities, so I think that private companies that need capital and are conservatively managed have many opportunities to raise capital from public investors.
I think that the whole German market will be restructured, there's a lot of noise about what's happening with the open-ended funds and how it will evolve. We have very good franchising in Germany, we are very focused on bringing capital on to this market, so we would be pleased to assist when the opportunity rises.
I think the three bigges