Credit Suisse and the Wild West of synthetic prime brokerage

Industry insiders describe a frontier business with few rules – and plenty of questionable practices

Risk 0521 Final Stephen Lee NB Illustration
Stephen Lee,

When a veteran industry lawyer describes part of the prime brokerage business as “a bit of a Wild West”, it might bring to mind a quick-draw duel in the dust of a frontier town, antagonists squinting at each other in the noon sun, hands hovering over their pistols.

That image captures one part of the drama that has catapulted prime brokerage into the headlines. When a clutch of banks discovered a defaulting client – Archegos Capital Management – had similar positions with each of them, Morgan

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