Credit Suisse Posts Q1 Loss

Credit Suisse accelerated its cost-cutting efforts as adverse market conditions led to a huge drop in revenue for the investment bank's global mark...
Katie Kuehner-HebertMay 10, 2016

Credit Suisse on Tuesday posted a loss for the first quarter, but also said that the financial services firm had already given pink slips to half of the 2,000 employees slated for layoffs.

The Zurich-based company reported pre-tax loss of CHF 484 million ($496.24 million), compared with reported pre-tax income of CHF 1.51 million ($1.55 million) a year ago. Much of that was due to a $651 million loss for its global markets division, as net revenues tumbled 60% to $998 million while expenses only dropped 2% to $1.58 billion. The bank also booked $69.7 million in provisions for credit losses.

However, Credit Suisse accelerated its cost savings program in the first quarter to mitigate the impact of adverse market conditions, and achieved — on an annualized basis — more than half of the $1.44 billion of net cost savings targeted for 2016.

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Management said it was confident that the firm would meet or exceed its $1.74 billion gross cost savings target by year-end.

“In the first three months of the year, we have remained focused on executing our strategy with three clear priorities: accelerating our cost and headcount reduction efforts, delivering profitable growth in wealth management divisions, and maintaining our strong capital position,” Credit Suisse’s chief executive Tidjane Thiam said in a press release. “We have been able to make good progress in all of these areas against an extremely challenging market backdrop.”

Last week, the bank said its latest round of job cuts would involve 130 staff, of which 80 were in fixed income, currencies, and commodities and 50 from equities, according to Reuters. Credit Suisse declined to give a breakdown of the remaining positions to be eliminated.

Overall, chief executive Tidjane Thiam has said he wants to reduce headcount across the group by 6,000.

He also swatted down a suggestion that Credit Suisse might consider merging with fellow struggler Deutsche Bank.

“Maybe I’ve been too busy, but I’ve not heard that rumor,” Thiam said.