Credit Suisse has bulked up its Australian distribution capabilities, announcing a key investment. The Swiss firm has agreed to purchase a 25% equity stake in EL & C Baillieu Stockbroking, which services more than 30,000 active clients and advises on funds in excess of A$4 billion (approximately $3.1 billion).

According to Credit Suisse, the strategic alliance is scheduled to commence on October 1 and will significantly boost the bankÆs ability to distribute products in Australia. Under the agreement between the two firms, Baillieu will provide Credit Suisse with access to its retail distribution channels. On the flipside, Credit Suisse will provide the Australian stockbroker with access to its products.

In addition, following the equity stake purchase, Credit Suisse will gain representation on BaillieuÆs board of directors.

ôEarlier this year we announced plans to establish private banking in Australia by the end of the year,ö says Paul Calello, Credit SuisseÆs chief executive officer for Asia-Pacific. ôThe strategic distribution alliance with Baillieu will further strengthen our capital markets business in Australia, and indeed benefit all business divisions in Australia going forward.ö

Adds David Trude, Credit SuisseÆs Australia country manager: ôIn Australia, a significant portion of initial public offerings are sold to retail investors. We believe this alliance with Baillieu, which is a well known and trusted name in the business, will enhance our distribution power significantly.ö

Headquartered in Melbourne and with offices in Sydney and Bendigo, Baillieu has been a full-service stockbroker in Australia since 1889. Aside from traditional stockbroking, its research team covers approximately 160 stocks listed on the ASX.