Credit Suisse unveils strategy shift amid shrinking profit

CEO Tidjane Thiam and Chairman Urs Rohner of Swiss bank Cedit Suisse await a media briefing in Zurich, Switzerland.

CEO Tidjane Thiam and Chairman Urs Rohner of Swiss bank Cedit Suisse await a media briefing in Zurich, Switzerland.

Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse has unveiled a massive strategy shift entailing some 5,000 job cuts and a plan to raise more than $6.0 billion.

Following the announcements, Credit Suisse saw its share price plunge 4.70 percent in mid-morning trading, as the Swiss stock exchange’s main SMI index was down just 0.67 percent.

Announcing Credit Suisse’s new strategy, CEO Tidjane Thiam insisted the bank was “taking decisive action to strengthen our balance sheet and capital position to the point where it will not be any more a source of concern for our clients, our investors or our regulators.”

He said the bank aimed to raise a total of 6.05 billion Swiss francs ($6.3 billion, 5.6 billion euros) through selling stock to select shareholders and existing investors.

“We are rebooting the company, we are solving our capital issues,” Thiam told Bloomberg Television.

“One of our objectives coming in was to take capital off the table to raise enough capital so that this would not be again a topic of conversation at quarterly results,” said Thiam, who was brought in four months ago to restore investor confidence in the struggling bank.

Credit Suisse, whose revenues have been hit by tougher capital requirements and record low rates, said it would restructure three regional divisions: the Swiss Universal Bank (CHUB), Asia Pacific (APAC), and International Wealth Management (IWM).

Credit Suisse said it plans an initial public offering for the Swiss unit by the end of 2017.

As part of the new strategy, Credit Suisse said it would split its securities unit into an investment banking and a markets business unit.

The bank also said it planned to “right-size” its footprint in London by transferring positions to less expensive regions such as India.

“I am confident we have the right structure and the right leadership to take our strategy forward,” Thiam said in a statement.

He told reporters in a conference call later that as part of a bid to save 3.5 billion Swiss francs by the end of 2018, some 5,000 jobs would likely need to go worldwide, including 1,600 in Switzerland alone.

Credit Suisse today employs some 60,000 people around the globe.

“Our strategy is a growth strategy; a profitable growth strategy,” Thiam said in the statement.

“It will create value for our customers, generate capital, and over time deliver value to our key stakeholders — investors, clients and staff,” he insisted.

Credit Suisse announced its new strategy alongside disappointing third quarter results.

The bank announced that its third-quarter net profit shrank 24 percent to 779 million Swiss francs ($815 million, 718 million euros), as its revenues slipped eight percent to 5.98 billion Swiss francs.

Credit Suisse’s private banking and wealth management unit meanwhile plunged 31 percent to 647 million francs before taxes.


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