Credit Suisse Group, Switzerlands second-largest banking corporation, has taken a tumble from its top position in the banking sector of the Dow Jones Sustainability Group Index (DJSGI). Managers of the international index, which was launched in September 1999, said an in-depth monitoring procedure showed a "systematic weakness" in Credit Suisses dealings with money transfers in the mid-1990s from the entourage of Nigerias late dictator General Sani Abacha. The money transfers were disclosed last month in a report by Switzerlands Federal Banking Commission. In light of this development, DJSGI has downgraded the 146-year-old company to second place among its banking industry components. Top spot has been taken by another Swiss giant, UBS, the worlds largest asset management company.
DJSGI tracks more than 232 companies in 27 countries each selected as best examples of sustainable practice in their sector. Inclusion and ranking is based on ratings produced by the Zurich-based SAM Sustainability Group.
Andre-Lou Sugar, a spokesman for Credit Suisse Group, told Tomorrow on the Web that his company was "surprised" by DJSGIs move "because we had been confirmed as number one just a few weeks ago." He said the company accepted blame for its dealings with Nigeria but strict measures had been in place for several years to ensure such cases did not re-occur. "The Federal Banking Commission has told that no further measures are needed," said Mr Sugar. "We are determined to win back top ranking."