Legal Business

Credit Suisse

  • Global general counsel and head of compliance: Romeo Cerutti.
  • Managing director and EMEA general counsel: Maria Leistner.
  • Team headcount: 450 lawyers globally.

Maria Leistner, managing director and EMEA general counsel (GC), says the Credit Suisse team is one of the best in the business when it comes to the integration of compliance and risk. ‘We reorganised the department about four-and-a-half years ago, where we refocused the lawyers to regulatory and compliance risk and so we are probably currently one of the most integrated legal and compliance departments there is.’

According to one law firm partner, the team, which covers investment banking, private banking and asset management, is ‘comprised of exceptionally high-quality lawyers with strong commercial awareness and who are able to strike an excellent balance between their business stakeholders and external counsel. This feeds through to a significantly higher number of instructions, and increased efficiency in managing legal spend’.

The lawyers at Credit Suisse have successfully managed the bank through a period of exceptional change for the investment banking industry. The structured capital markets legal group at Credit Suisse is particularly noted for dealing with the complete overhaul of the global regulatory framework for products such as derivatives and structured finance. This required the legal function to enter a steep learning curve of multi-pronged and competing UK, European and US regulatory requirements.

The in-house function at Credit Suisse is also one of the most high-profile clients of legal outsourcer Axiom Law, using outsourcing teams in both Vrotslav (Poland) and Belfast and has restructured its in-house model significantly to cut back on its own resources and outsource more. A substantial portion of Credit Suisse’s documentation work is now outsourced to Axiom globally.

The team also carried out an external panel review in November 2014, choosing to work with firms including Clifford Chance, Linklaters, Allen & Overy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Ashurst.