Credit Suisse Asset Management is still managing pension fundassets in the U.S., after the Department of Labor granted the firma second and longer exemption from being barred from such activityafter a criminal conviction.

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CSAM could have been prohibited from continuing to managepension fund assets by virtue (or the lack thereof) of the factthat its banking entity Credit Suisse AG was convicted of helpingU.S. citizens avoid taxes overseas.

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But instead the DOL granted it a one-year temporaryexemption last year.

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And now the firm has been granted a second exemption--known as aqualified professional asset manager exemption (QPAM)--that willremain in effect for 10 years.

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CSAM manages more than $15 billion for institutional tax-exemptclients in the U.S., and it had already been granted the temporaryexemption despite Credit Suisse AG’s guilty plea and subsequentconviction last year.

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DOL granted the first exemption before the institution’sconviction, and held a hearing in January “intended to solicitadditional information regarding whether the Second ProposedExemption was in the interest of, and protective of, plans andIRAs, and administratively feasible.”

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Read: Corporate, public pension plans suffer inAugust turmoil

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In the wake of the hearing, the DOL decided to impose additionalconditions that will “contain … enhanced conditions for theprotection of plans and their participants and beneficiaries.”

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Read: 10 questions employees can ask a pension fundmanager

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Those enhanced conditions simply require that CSAM’s operationsbe isolated from the parent company and that asset managementclients are informed of the firm’s conviction.

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Although commenters at the hearing said that denying CSAM the10-year exemption would discourage the firm from furtherwrongdoing, DOL said in a statement about its decision that“neither the Credit Suisse Affiliated QPAMs nor the Credit SuisseRelated QPAMs were involved in the conduct underlying theConviction.”

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Because of that and “a finding that the Credit Suisse AffiliatedQPAMs and the Credit Suisse Related QPAMs (the Credit Suisse QPAMs)operate separately and independently of Credit Suisse AG withrespect to their asset management decisions,” the DOL said that it“believes that a full denial of exemptive relief is notwarranted.”

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Wholly owned Credit Suisse affiliates will have to seek a newexemption after five years, however, and “should be prepared todemonstrate that the conditions of this exemption have beenmet.

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The Department's review of any such application may also extendto Credit Suisse AG's compliance with relevant laws and regulationsthroughout the duration of this exemption.”

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