Credit Suisse Is Cutting 2,000 More Jobs

Photograph by Fabrice Coffrini—AFP/Getty Images

Credit Suisse Group on Wednesday announced 800 million Swiss francs ($821 million) in additional cost cuts and plans to shrink its investment bank further as it spurs a restructuring plan aimed at revitalizing its earnings.

The cuts include eliminating 2,000 jobs at its Global Markets business to better weather challenging market conditions, Switzerland’s second-largest bank said.

Like its global peers, Credit Suisse is grappling with record low interest rates, low commodity prices and slower growth in emerging markets such as China.

Banks are facing a slump of 15% in market trading revenue in the first quarter, spoiling what is normally the most lucrative period when investors put their money to work at the start of the year.

Deutsche Bank’s finance chief said on Tuesday the first two months of 2016 were the worst start to a year for banks that he has seen in his banking career.


Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam, who took over at Credit Suisse from British insurer Prudential last July, is five months into implementing his new strategy.

He raised around 6 billion francs in capital last year and is cutting back its volatile investment banking business while focusing on more stable wealth management.

Analysts and investors agree with the path Thiam has set the bank on but many view his targets as too ambitious, with concerns a possible slowdown in high-growth emerging markets could make them harder to hit.

“Today, we are announcing an increase to our 2018 cost reduction target from 3.5 billion Swiss francs gross savings to at least 4.3 billion francs, driving our absolute operating cost base below 18 billion francs by 2018. For 2016, we aim to achieve 1.7 billion francs in cost savings,” Thiam said in a statement.

The Zurich-based bank said in February it accelerated cost savings to lock in 1.2 billion of the targeted 3.5 billion francs by 2018, with around 4,000 jobs being cut. The latest moves bring job cuts to 6,000.

Its shares, which have fallen by more than a third this year, were indicated 3.7% higher in pre-market business.

Thiam said a combination of high costs, exposure to illiquid inventory in fixed income, “historically low levels of client activity” and challenging market conditions had led to disappointing results at Global Markets.

“In this context, we have taken immediate action to reduce outsized positions in activities not consistent with our new strategy and systematically reduced our exposures,” Thiam said.

Thiam said that write-downs at Global Markets, which totaled $633 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, were lower in the first quarter at $346 million as of March 11, 2016.

The writedowns would trigger a first-quarter loss at the business, but a smaller one than in the fourth quarter.

“Revenues (at Global Markets) have remained weak in the period, with negative operational leverage,” Thiam said.

On a brighter note, the bank cited net new money inflows so far this year of 3.6 billion francs at its Asia Pacific business, 7.1 billion at international wealth management, and 4.5 billion at its Swiss universal bank, whose partial public listing in 2017 was on track if market conditions permit.

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