Credit Suisse’s possible First Boston revival may face hurdles – Reuters

NEW YORK, Oct 26 (Reuters) – Credit Suisse may want to revive the First Boston brand for its investment bank – but doing so could be complicated and possibly costly.

The embattled Swiss lender is set to announce a reorganization on Thursday which could include selling various parts of its business as it tries to raise cash. The bank could also spin off or separate part of its advisory and investment banking business.

A source familiar with the matter said the bank is considering rebranding its investment bank using First Boston as part of that reorganization, confirming reports in Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

However, a number of other companies or entities have been using the First Boston brand.

The source said Credit Suisse has been making efforts to reclaim the First Boston brand since retiring it years ago. It was unclear whether Credit Suisse would be happy to co-exist with the other First Boston brands.

Credit Suisse declined comment.

Among entities using the brand is website which advertises itself as “the first call for acquisitions.” When contacted by Reuters, said via email that it was not affiliated with Credit Suisse and declined comment on whether Credit Suisse had contacted it. A representative listed on the United States Patent and Trademark Office under the First Boston trademark filing did not respond to a request for comment.

Another company with First Boston branding is First Boston Advisors, an investment banking advisory business previously branded as Methuselah Advisors. The firm is owned by former First Boston bankers who have advised on major media and digital deals. A representative for the firm did not respond to a request for comment.

First Boston Capital Partners, a homebuilding financing company, also includes the First Boston name. A representative did not respond to a request for comment.

Still, while the USPTO database is good evidence of whether a person or entity owns a trademark, it is not conclusive, according to a lawyer who declined to be identified due to confidentiality.

A person or entity could be using a trademark under license, the lawyer said. In addition, U.S. trademark rights generally derive from the use of the trademark in the marketplace. If a person or entity abandons a brand name, they lose the rights whether they own the piece of paper or not, that lawyer said.

Buying rights can be expensive. Meta Platforms Inc , the owner of social media network Facebook, was behind a $60 million deal to acquire the trademark assets of U.S. regional bank Meta Financial Group (CASH.O) in December, according to spokespeople at the time.


Credit Suisse’s history with the First Boston investment bank dates back to 1978 when the pair linked up to operate in the London bond market. In 1988 they announced a merger to increase the Swiss bank’s presence on Wall Street, creating CS First Boston. That was followed by a tough time for First Boston which had suffered the loss of famed bankers Bruce Wasserstein and Joseph Perella.

However, in June 2005 the bank said it would adopt a single Credit Suisse brand for its banking business. In its 2005 annual report it said the brand name Credit Suisse First Boston was no longer used.

“The argument they would likely make is (First Boston) comes with market recognition that they might find helpful with certain associations really intrinsic to investment banking,” said Melanie McShane, Executive Director, Strategy at brand company Siegel+Gale.

If Credit Suisse did indeed revive the brand, it would not be the first bank to make such a move. Kingswood Capital Markets bought the rights to use the bulge bracket bank brand EF Hutton in 2021 while Salomon Encore describes itself as a “Modern Salomon Brothers”. The original Salomon Brothers was an investment bank that revolutionized bond trading in the 1980s and whose CEO was dubbed the “King of Wall Street.”

McShane said that reviving First Boston would probably see Credit Suisse “try and brush over that the brand was abandoned.”

“I’d speculate a lot of this is about employee retention… and retaining the best dealmakers,” said McShane.

Reporting by Megan Davies; Editing by Elisa Martinuzzi and Josie Kao

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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