Credit Suisse`s CEO underlined his determination to thwart activist investor efforts to split the company, saying Thursday`s quarterly results showed the importance of its investment bank to wealthy customers.
Swiss hedge fund RBR Capital Advisors went public last month with a campaign to split Credit Suisse into three parts: an investment bank, an asset management group and a wealth manager accommodating its Swiss retail and corporate banking operations.
But on Thursday Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam answered the hedge fund`s criticism as he unveiled close to a sixfold jump in third-quarter net income that nudged up the bank`s share price by more than 2 percent.
"Our integrated model is proving attractive for our clients," Thiam said in a call with analysts.
"We have seen a 30 percent increase in revenues from strategic clients, so the large, ultra-high-net-worth, entrepreneur clients. And 40 percent of our clients are multi-product."
Thiam said he plans to meet RBR chief Rudolf Bohli next week. The fund launched its campaign after spending 100 million Swiss francs ($100.1 million) to buy roughly 0.2 percent of Credit Suisse and has said it wants to increase its investment to 1 billion francs.
Earnings for the three months to Sept. 30 marked the first time Switzerland`s second-biggest bank has posted three consecutive profitable quarters under Thiam, who took the helm in July 2015.
Credit Suisse is entering the second half of Thiam`s three-year plan to focus on wealth management over investment banking and settle legal cases.
After 6.56 billion francs in losses in 2016 and 2015, Credit Suisse said that third-quarter net income attributable to shareholders was 244 million Swiss francs.
This lagged a forecast of 264 million francs in a Reuters analyst poll but was ahead of the bank`s own consensus estimate for 184 million francs.
"The bank proved ... it is on the right track, although the pace of improvement is somewhat slowing down," said analysts at broker Mirabaud Securities.STILL A WAY TO GO
Though earnings rose significantly, Credit Suisse still has some way to go to deliver the returns investors expect from a top bank. By comparison, rival UBS last week reported quarterly net profit of 946 million francs.
Credit Suisse`s common equity Tier 1 capital ratio, a measure of balance sheet strength that Thiam has sought to improve over the past two years, dipped to 13.2 percent from 13.3 percent in the second quarter.
Net new money inflows -- a closely watched indicator of future earnings in asset management -- totalled 10.4 billion francs across its three wealth management businesses, up 8 percent year on year. Assets under management grew 12 percent year on year to a record 751 billion francs.
Reported pretax income at Credit Suisse`s global markets trading division, the source of billions of dollars in losses over the past two years, was $73 million, down from $92 million.
Fixed-income revenue was down 8 percent year on year. U.S rivals on average saw a 22 percent fall in FICC (fixed income, currencies and commodities) operations in the quarter.
($1 = 0.9992 Swiss francs)
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