Archegos losses tallied up, industry regulatory scrutiny grows

ZURICH/NEW YORK (Reuters) -Wall Street was counting the cost of the Archegos meltdown on Tuesday, with pressure piling up on Credit Suisse, while attention was turning to regulatory scrutiny that might result from banks unwinding the fund’s positions.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen at its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland March 24, 2021. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

The unwind of Archegos, a $10 billion family office run by former Tiger Asia manager Bill Hwang, may result in global lenders losing more than $6 billion, sources familiar with trades have told Reuters.

JPMorgan analysts, including Kian Abouhossein, estimated on Tuesday that the global bank losses could potentially reach $10 billion, “well beyond normal unwinding scenario for the industry.” They added they expected full disclosure by the end of the week from Credit Suisse, which on Monday warned of a significant hit.

Credit Suisse’s shares fell another 3% on Tuesday and have slumped 16% so far this week. Shares of most other major European and U.S. banks, which took a battering on Monday, had bounced back on Tuesday.

As the series of events that led Archegos’ brokers to liquidate the fund’s positions became clearer on Tuesday, regulatory scrutiny of the episode intensified.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which on Monday said it was monitoring the situation, on Tuesday asked Archegos’ brokers for information on a meeting they held last week about the fund’s exposure, the Financial Times reported. The SEC declined to comment on Tuesday.

“The fallout from Archegos Capital margin call appears to be contained but the regulatory scrutiny will not go away anytime soon,” wrote Edward Moya, senior market analyst, New York, OANDA. “Every prime brokerage is looking at their books and could start pressuring family offices or hedge funds to bring down the leverage they are using.”

On Thursday, Archegos’ brokers discussed trying to limit the impact of unwinding the firm’s positions, two sources close to the matter confirmed to Reuters. However, no deal on how to do that was reached and Goldman Sachs sold a large block of $3 billion-$4 billion worth of stock before the market opened on Friday – a trade Archegos agreed to, one of the sources said.

Archegos did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Moya said policymakers would likely seek assurances that banks would not coordinate with other brokerages on client trades, which could breach antitrust laws, according to lawyers.

“We would expect regulators will look carefully into this event and would not be surprised if there were some changes especially in light of the new administration,” banking analyst Vivek Juneja of JPMorgan wrote in a note on Tuesday.


Credit Suisse and Japan’s Nomura are set to bear the brunt of the losses, according to statements from the banks and sources, one of whom said Credit Suisse’s losses could be as high as $4 billion. The bank has declined to comment on the size of losses.

Credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s on Tuesday revised its outlook on Credit Suisse to “negative” from “stable” on concerns about the group’s risk management.

The prospect of big losses at is piling further pressure on Credit Suisse risk management, already reeling from the fallout surrounding collapsed supply chain finance company Greensill.

Investors are likely to question why Credit Suisse appears to have suffered larger losses on Archegos than some of the fund’s other brokers.

The brokerage arm of Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group on Tuesday also flagged potential losses at its European subsidiary of around $300 million related to a U.S. client, declining to comment on whether that client was Archegos.

Wells Fargo shares were up 2.5% on Tuesday afternoon after the company confirmed speculation that it had also provided brokerage services to Archegos, but said it “did not experience losses related to closing out our exposure.”

U.S. banks overall were trading higher, with Morgan Stanley up 1.8%, Goldman Sachs up 2%, JPMorgan 1.2% higher and Citigroup up 2%.


Several analysts flagged on Tuesday that Credit Suisse’s share buyback programme and dividend may be at risk as a result of the scandal.

“The hits just keep coming for Credit Suisse,” wrote Eoin Mullany at Berenberg.

“We believe Credit Suisse will need to suspend its share buyback while in the longer term we believe it will lead to it reassessing the way it takes and manages risk.”

One Credit Suisse debt investor said the bank was unlikely to be able to restore its share buyback programme before 2023.

The bank is also likely to face regulatory demands for a larger capital buffer and incur higher borrowing costs, the investor said, adding Credit Suisse may consider shrinking its private banking operations.

Other major banks have so far not said they expect a major impact from the downfall of Archegos, with Deutsche Bank saying on Monday it had not incurred losses after “de-risking” its Archegos exposure.

Goldman and Morgan Stanley were quick to offload shares on Friday, averting a material financial impact, sources familiar with their trades have said.

Archegos’ problems started last week when a disappointing stock sale by media giant ViacomCBS triggered devastating bank margin calls for the fund, three sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Regulators in the United States, UK, Switzerland and Japan have all said they are closely monitoring developments.

($1 = 0.9419 Swiss franc)

Reporting by Brenna Hughes Negahaiwi and Mike Shields in Zurich, Sam Nussey and David Dolan in Tokyo, Matt Scuffham and Elizabeth Dilts, David Henry and Megan Davies in New York, Carolyn Cohn in London and Noor Zainab Hussain in BengaluruWriting by Rachel Armstrong and Lewis KrauskopfEditing by Jan Harvey and Matthew Lewis

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