Top firm boss happy with progress of 'big' restructuring

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Now over halfway through.

Swiss bank Credit Suisse posted a near six-fold year-on-year rise in third-quarter net profit on Thursday, beating analyst expectations amid an ongoing restructuring plan.

Here are the key third-quarter metrics:

  • Net income: 244 million Swiss francs ($244 million), vs. 224.6 million Swiss francs expected by Thomson Reuters poll.
  • Revenue: 4.97 billion Swiss francs, vs. expected 4.94 billion Swiss francs, according to Thomson Reuters.

Switzerland's second-largest bank reported 244 million Swiss francs ($244 million) in third-quarter net profit. The results mark the first time the lender has posted three consecutive profitable quarters under the guidance of CEO Tidjane Thiam. It was also significantly above the 41 million Swiss francs reported for the same period last year.

The lender is currently in the second phase of its three-year restructuring program. It plans to focus on wealth management over investment banking and settle legal cases.

When asked about the bank's progress given it is now over halfway through its restructuring program, Credit Suisse's CEO said, "It doesn't happen overnight, it's a big restructuring but as far as restructuring's go, this one is really progressing at an enormous pace."

Credit Suisse's stock is significantly below the level when Thiam took over in 2015, and last month Swiss hedge fund RBR Capital Advisors called on the bank to break up into three parts in order to support the share price.

'Happy with progress'

The bank said that while the outlook for global economic growth continued to improve and it is "happy with the progress" it has made so far, Credit Suisse would also continue to face a number of challenges in the final three months of 2017.

"Uncertain geopolitical developments, central bank policies and the magnitude and timing of reforms in the U.S., as well as historically low levels of volatility, have impacted client activity levels, which remained muted," Thiam said in a statement.

Credit Suisse said it had generated cost savings of approximately 400 million Swiss francs in the three months through September, taking nine-month cumulative cost savings to around 1 billion Swiss francs. The lender said it is "confident" it would finish the year with cost savings under its target of 18.5 billion Swiss francs.

Although Credit Suisse's earnings rose considerably in the third quarter, the bank still lagged behind its domestic rival. Switzerland's largest bank, UBS, posted quarterly net profit of 946 million Swiss francs last week.

Credit Suisse's common equity tier 1 capital ratio – a key measure of balance sheet strength – slipped to 13.2 percent from 13.3 percent over the same period.

In July, the bank warned that while its wealth management had been sheltered from the current economic environment of low volatility and geopolitical concerns, its other divisions could continue to feel these effects going forward.

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