(Bloomberg) — 6 a.m. wake-up calls. Canceled tennis dates. Anxious check-ins on bond prices while walking the dog.
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These were just a few of the scenes from traders and money managers this weekend as the world of finance prepared for the next, and perhaps final act, of Credit Suisse Group AG’s surprise and spectacular fall from grace.
For the second straight weekend, traders around the world, from London to New York and Sao Paulo, were glued to their mobile phones and laptops, checking the news, making quick Zoom calls and awaiting marching orders — on high alert. Another banking crisis. Last time, it was Silicon Valley Bank, a US regional bank for startups. This time, it’s Credit Suisse, once a titan of Switzerland’s all-important banking industry.
Aside from over-the-counter trades in bonds, most traders did little to close markets, as Swiss authorities and UBS AG raced to strike a deal together on Saturday for all or parts of Credit Suisse. Yet a quiet sense of dread about “what comes next” once markets reopen Monday was still evident in the broader banking industry – and the global economy.
“The situation at Credit Suisse and American Regional Bank raises concerns about what we don’t know,” said Trevor Bateman, head of investment-grade credit research at CIBC Asset Management. “We are spending time over the weekend to consider possible scenarios, outcomes and second- and third-order effects from these results. And unknown unknowns.”
Many worked from home, a now-familiar Covid-era routine. Some still went to the office and held conference calls. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley were among bond desks opened over the weekend, according to people familiar with the matter. A Goldman representative declined to comment, while Morgan Stanley did not immediately respond to Bloomberg’s request for comment.
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Since bands are traded over the counter, they can technically change hands at any time. But it is very unusual to do business on weekends.
Nevertheless, there were unusual levels of activity in the bonds of both SVB and Credit Suisse. At least two sets of price quotes on Credit Suisse bonds were sent on Saturday, copies of which were seen by Bloomberg. Senior bonds were quoted higher by traders, in some cases by 12 points. Given that it is the weekend, it is unclear whether trades were made at these levels.
A key question in any Credit Suisse deal is how assets will be split and how that will affect the company’s debt structure, according to one investor who trades credit default swaps for Swiss bank bondholders.
He, like many others, planned to stay home on weekends and monitor the news on his phone.
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“Everyone is actively checking the news,” said Michael Sandberg, equity derivatives sales trader at United First Partners. “Many of us are getting calls from clients who are looking for cherry-pick opportunities as things evolve in Credit Suisse’s position.”
Calm before the storm
A money manager in Brussels, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said the last time he remembered a similar situation was when people in markets were unsure whether interest payments could be made on bonds after Russia invaded Ukraine. be empty
In Sao Paulo, a credit trader at a major bank said the weekend was like a lull before the tsunami hit, when the water has receded and the incoming wall has not yet collapsed.
The businessman, who didn’t reach home till 2 am on Friday because his identity was not revealed, got a call on Saturday morning after closing his eyes for a few hours. Abandoning plans to play tennis in the morning, he was working from home in his gym clothes. It hasn’t stopped since Wednesday, he said, but the businessman plans to go to the office later Saturday.
– With help from Giulia Morpurgo and Reshmi Basu.
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