Credit Suisse delivers earnings beat after boost from wealth management unit

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Swiss bank Credit Suisse posted a 57 percent rise in first-quarter pre-tax income Wednesday, beating analyst expectations amid an ongoing restructuring plan.

Here are the key first-quarter metrics:

  • Net income: 694 million Swiss francs ($707 million), vs. 654 million Swiss francs expected by a Thomson Reuters poll.
  • Pre-tax income: 1.1 billion Swiss francs, vs. expected 1 billion Swiss Francs, according to Thomson Reuters.

Switzerland’s second-largest bank reported Wednesday 1.1 billion Swiss francs ($1.1 billion) in first-quarter pre-tax income, underpinned by strong growth in its wealth management-related businesses.

Meanwhile, the bank’s net profit attributable to shareholders came in at 694 million Swiss francs during the first three months of the year. That was a 16 percent rise when compared to the same period last year.

Credit Suisse’s results marked the sixth consecutive quarter of year-on-year profit growth under the guidance of CEO Tidjane Thiam. It was also the highest quarterly adjusted pre-tax income for the last 11 quarters, the bank said.

“We are very pleased with these results, the core of our strategy is to grow the wealth management (business) and the bank has done that in the first quarter,” Tidjane Thiam, chief executive of Credit Suisse, told CNBC’s Geoff Cutmore on Wednesday.

The bank is currently nearing the end of its three-year restructuring program. Thiam has led an ongoing effort to try to settle any outstanding legal cases and prioritize the lender’s wealth management business over investment banking.

He added the bank’s recent reforms had “completely transformed the earnings profile of the company.” And with just three quarters to go before the bank’s streamlining process is complete, Thiam said he was “extremely pleased” with the progress so far.

Although Credit Suisse’s earnings picked up significantly over the first three months of the year, the lender still lagged behind its main domestic rival. UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, posted quarterly net profit of 1.5 billion Swiss francs on Monday.

Credit Suisse’s common equity tier 1 capital ratio — a key measure of balance sheet strength — edged up to 12.9 percent from 12.8 percent when compared to the previous quarter.

When asked to what extent the bank’s latest figures were a good response to recent criticism of his leadership, Thiam replied: “It is for the market to decide. I work hard and produce the numbers and we will see what the market thinks.”

Shares of Credit Suisse were trading over 3 percent higher during mid-morning deals on Wednesday morning.

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