By Tiisetso Motsoeneng
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Credit Suisse has pulled out of South Africa after more than a decade as part of chief executive Tidjane Thiam's bank-wide revamp, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.
"They are gone. It's a total withdrawal wrapped up some weeks back," one of the sources said.
Credit Suisse's website says it has offices in approximately 50 countries and lists Johannesburg as its only sub-Saharan African location.
Thiam, who in September ruled himself out as a candidate for political office in his native Ivory Coast, has been the driving force behind the changes at the Swiss bank. Like other European players, Credit Suisse has been struggling to compete with the U.S. investment banks which dominate Wall Street.
The Swiss bank's quiet withdrawal comes months after its rival Deutsche Bank said it would wind up its advisory, corporate broking and sponsor-services to refocus on Europe and its home market after three years of losses.
Credit Suisse is quitting a country whose economy has slipped into a recession for the first time since 2009, and where activity in mergers and acquisitions halved in the first six months of the year to its lowest level in a decade.
Credit Suisse will offer private banking services for well-heeled South Africans from London, Zurich and Dubai, another source said. Its research teams in these cities would continue to cover selected blue chip South African companies, they added.
The Swiss bank initially teamed up with Standard Bank, South Africa's biggest lender by assets, to create a joint venture focusing on equity research, sales, trading and equity capital markets deals.
But it ended this four years later, saying it would develop its offering of trading, private trading and investment bank.
(Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; additional reporting by Michael Shields in Zurich; editing by Alexander Smith)
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