Credit Suisse blames low client activity for Q1 loss

Bank says it is on course with cost cuts after tough Q1 and is pivoting towards more profitable business units such as wealth management.

Credit Suisse has blamed difficult market conditions for a CHF 484 million pre-tax loss in the first quarter of the year.

The investment bank’s most recent financial report said it was well underway with a significant cost cutting programme as part of efforts to realign its business to focus on wealth management “supported by distinct investment banking capabilities.”

It said the early months of the year had been challenging and had driven much lower sales as a result.

“In the first quarter of 2016 and particularly in January and February, we operated in some of the most difficult markets on record with volumes and client activity drastically reduced. While we saw tentative signs of a pick-up in activity in March and then in April, subdued market conditions and low levels of client activity are likely to persist in the second quarter of 2016 and possibly beyond,” said Tidjane Thiam, CEO.

These conditions drove the bank to a loss of nearly half a billion Swiss francs, down from a pre-tax income of CHF 1.5 billion in the first quarter of 2015.

Little information was revealed regarding the performance of its investment banking and capital markets division, though the bank said it has doubled its M&A revenues year-on-year.

The bank reported it has action 1,000 job cuts so far, of a total of 3,500 it intends to make by the end of 2016. The job cuts are further evidence of the mass headcount reduction been seen across the sector.