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Credit Suisse to shed insurance business

Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse is to sell off its Winterthur insurance business in an effort to focus on its core banking and asset management operations.

The insurance division looks likely to be sold to French insurance giant AXA in a deal reportedly worth $8 billion, according to unnamed sources speaking to the New York Times.

Credit Suisse are currently in talks with the French insurers, with a deal expected by the end of the week.

The move has not been unexpected, with the Swiss bank anxious to rid itself of the Switzerland-based insurance firm, which it bought in 1997, in order to focus its efforts in the more lucrative and currently buoyant investment banking and wealth management operations that remain its core business.

This follows the lead of other high-profile investment banks, including Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase, who have shed their insurance businesses in favour of investment banking.