Investment solutions: How we come up with investment recommendations

"We offer our clients a wide range of investment themes and investment solutions."

We don't leave anything to chance when it comes to investing. But how do we come up with investment recommendations? Our interview goes behind the scenes with Olivier Fräfel, Head of Investment Solutions.

It's no secret that investment solutions don't grow on trees. But how we come up with investment ideas and where the appropriate solutions come from remain a mystery for many. The process involves many teams of experts at Credit Suisse. The Investment Solutions unit plays a key role in this process. Olivier Fräfel, head of the unit, describes what falls under the scope of Investment Solutions and how his team develops investment recommendations.

Mr. Fräfel, what is Investment Solutions?

We at SUB Investment Solutions are an integral component of Swiss Universal Bank and a single point of entry for all matters relating to investment. We provide our internal and external stakeholders with support in all investment themes. In doing so, we ensure our clients get the best advice and the right products. In order to complete these tasks, we provide our colleagues with expertise on the one hand and client-specific sales material as well as support in client meetings on the other.

You're the head of the unit. What is your role?

First and foremost, I see myself as a service provider and a sales enabler. For me, the focus is on close collaboration with our stakeholders as well as innovation and quality. At the same time, the goal is always to improve our services for clients and to boost sales figures. We adapt our services to the particular needs of each client segment as part of this process. This includes clients from Wealth Management, Premium Clients, and external asset managers.

The Investment Solutions team

Investment Solutions is comprised of six teams.

Investment Delivery and Communication
  • Develop the corresponding sales material for each client segment
  • Make sure that the client advisors are informed about the products
Fund Solutions and Direct Investments
  • Determine the best-in-class investment solutions
  • Share fund expertise and take part in client meetings
Investment Foundations and Charitable Foundations
  • Provide investment vehicles that support tax-exempt pension funds
  • Promote philanthropy among clients with the corresponding investment solutions
Private Assets and Capital Markets
  • Offer a selection of IPOs and direct private equity deals for Swiss Universal Bank
  • Market IPOs and direct private equity deals
Alternative Investment Solutions
  • Select alternative investment solutions (private equity and hedge funds)
  • Advise on AI solutions in client meetings (AI sales specialists)
Pension Solutions
  • Offer solutions for pension funds in the extra-mandatory segment
  • Advise on 1e solutions in clients meetings (1e sales specialists)

How do you ensure that the services meet the client's expectations?

Continuous exchange among the parties involved is crucial for this, and that is precisely what my job is. At Investment Solutions, we are essentially the translators between product shops, research, and the front office. It is important for us to understand what our stakeholders expect, what they need, and what they don't. Only in this way can we optimally meet the needs of our clients. 

What does your team view as particularly important?

For us, the benefits for clients are always front and center. We can only achieve long-term, healthy success in the business through satisfied clients. As such, I always demand high-quality work – both from my employees and from myself. 

Your work seems to also be your passion. 

I am fascinated by this area in many ways. First in terms of the subject, since investment is my passion. I also find the range of solutions offered to be exciting each and every day – from IPOs through alternative investments to investment foundations. I really enjoy the high level of dynamics in my work. I also like that we create bridges, so to speak, between the product shops and the front office. The product shops decide on the best-in-class solutions, whereas the front office provides direct services to the client.

Just how does the Investment Solutions team come up with such investment recommendations?

Our investment themes are always based on the Credit Suisse House View, i.e. the bank's research opinion. As part of this we focus on certain aspects based on the current circumstances or specific needs for the segment. For instance, the negative interest rate environment and the respective investment opportunities are currently topics that are receiving a great deal of attention. As a result, the idea is not simply to highlight one aspect, but to also point out suitable investment solutions.

Our focus here is on the best-in-class approach and choosing the best and most appropriate solutions out of all the product groups. These could be investment funds, structured products, or even forex solutions, for instance. At the same time, we are in very close contact with the front-office units in order to ensure that these recommendations also reach our clients. So, we pair the themes with the products and the needs of both the front office and the clients.

Credit Suisse investment recommendations undergo periodic review

Investment recommendations undergo periodic review

A fund needs to meet these criteria in order to remain on the Fund Masterlist.

As a major global bank, we have the right solution for every client need.

Olivier Fräfel, Head of Investment Solutions

The financial markets are constantly changing, and you always have to keep your assessments up to date. What will future developments in your field of work look like?

Obviously, digitalization is making its way into the investment segment as well. We are also going along with this development. This is reflected in part in the fact that we are producing client-specific sales material nowadays, e.g. customized presentations for each client that our advisors can use in client meetings. We are also increasingly publishing our investment content via digital channels such as email, online platforms, and our online banking.

And what awaits Credit Suisse clients in the investment segment in particular?

Comprehensive support and the full range of investment opportunities. As a major global bank, we have the right solution for every client need. We are able to meet their needs and offer solutions that many other banks cannot. That's precisely why we are the right bank for both novice and professional investors.

Do you have any questions on this topic?

We would be happy to assist you. Call us at 0844 844 007.