Credit Suisse eyes up fund

SWISS bank Credit Suisse is in talks to buy part of Chicago investment outfit Mesirow Financial, as it looks to extend its foray into the hedge fund arena, US sources said yesterday.<br /><br />The bank, led by chief executive Brady Dougan, is hoping to secure a deal for Mesirow&rsquo;s investment arm Mesirow Advanced Strategies, which manages around $11bn (&pound;6.7bn) in assets. The deal would nearly double the $14.5bn in assets that Credit Suisse currently oversees, via a bevy of hedge fund partnerships.<br /><br />Talks are in their early stages, but a transaction of the size under discussion would help the Swiss bank increase its asset management presence in Asia, where Mesirow&rsquo;s hedge fund arm has a strong focus.<br /><br />Analysts said yesterday that the talks were motivated in part by the likelihood that smaller investment firms will be hurt by political efforts to ramp up regulation of the alternative investment industry.<br /><br />Credit Suisse operates one of the largest private banking units in Europe, but could use the acquisition to help it boost the fees it receives from wealthy investors.<br /><br />The financial crisis has seen many hedge fund investors withdraw funds, prompting predictions of a period of consolidation.