- SEC raised questions about bank’s earlier financial statements
- SEC questions concern consolidated cash flow statements, related controls
- Bank says 2022 financial results ‘not impacted’
- Analyst describes bank as ‘major construction site’
ZURICH, March 9 (Reuters) – Credit Suisse has postponed publication of its annual report after a last-minute call from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which raised questions about its earlier financial statements.
The unusual intervention by the U.S regulator is the latest blow for Credit Suisse as the lender reels from a series of scandals and setbacks that have sent its share price plunging and led clients to withdraw billions.
Credit Suisse shares were down around 6% and close to their all-time low in early afternoon trading in Zurich on Thursday.
The bank said the SEC had called it late on Wednesday regarding “certain open SEC comments about the technical assessment of previously disclosed revisions to the consolidated cash flow statements in the years ended December 31, 2020, and 2019, as well as related controls.”
The bank had revised how it booked a series of cash flows, including share-based compensation and foreign exchange hedges.
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Credit Suisse said that following the call it decided to postpone publication of the annual report.
“Management believes it is prudent to briefly delay the publication of its accounts in order to understand more thoroughly the comments received,” it said, adding that the 2022 financial results “are not impacted”.
The SEC did not immediately respond to a call and an email request for comment made by Reuters outside of business hours.
Other regulatory authorities besides the SEC were not involved, a person familiar with the matter said.
It remains unclear when the 2022 annual report will be released.
The bank’s announcement did not go down well with analysts.
Daniel Bosshard from Luzerner Kantonalbank described Credit Suisse as “a major construction site” and said “the share is only suitable for turnaround speculators.”
Andreas Venditti from Vontobel said the development “does not help investor sentiment and it does not help in rebuilding trust.”
In February, Credit Suisse Group reported that 2022 brought its biggest annual loss since the 2008 global financial crisis after rattled clients pulled funds from the bank, and it warned that a further “substantial” loss would come this year.
Switzerland’s second-biggest bank has begun a major overhaul of its business, cutting costs and jobs to revive its fortunes, including creating a separate business for its investment bank under the CS First Boston brand.
Among a string of scandals, Credit Suisse was hard hit by the collapse of U.S. investment firm Archegos in 2021 as well as the freezing of billions of supply chain finance funds linked to insolvent British financier Greensill.
Other scandals to rock the bank included a prosecution in Switzerland involving laundering money for a criminal gang.
Last November, rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded the bank to just one level above junk.
Additional reporting by John Revill in Zurich; editing by John O’Donnell and Tomasz Janowski