Credit Suisse Is Finally Finding Its Sweet Spot

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The Swiss bank Credit Suisse is expected to report a third consecutive annual loss, mainly due to write off of 2.3 billion CHF (2.45 billion USD) related with the USA tax reform. A previously flagged 2.3bn franc hit from USA tax reforms prevented a return to profit after three years of cost-cutting.

RBR, which a year ago reported a Credit Suisse stake worth around 100 million Swiss francs ($107 million), has been pushing for a breakup of the bank and said last month the group could create "enormous" value by replacing its IT platform and cutting jobs.

Credit Suisse reported a net loss of 983 million Swiss francs ($1.05 billion) for 2017 on Wednesday.

Credit Suisse has managed faster growth in its wealth management business than rival UBS, growing assets under management to a record 772 billion Swiss francs ($827 billion) past year while cutting 3.2 billion francs in costs since 2015. The Credit Suisse stock price moved higher for much of 2017 and into January 2018, before falling in line with market volatility so far during February. Thiam said 2017 was a "crucial year" of delivery in its three-year restructuring plan.

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But the meltdown of one of the bank's volatility products last week and two recent USA lawsuits over activities before and just after Thiam took charge have raised questions about how far his strategy has taken hold.

While the Swiss bank delivered a better-than-expected 2017 performance, Credit Suisse remains cautious over the year ahead. It said market volatility has had some benefits but has hurt its calendar, as clients "wait for calmer markets in order to transact".

The bank's board proposed Michael Klein and Ana Paula Pessoa for election as new non-executive members.

Looking at 2018, Credit Suisse said that its market-dependent activities are subject to a number of uncertainties, including changes to interest rates across the world, and it was adopting a "cautious short-term outlook" based on the recent market volatility.

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