Tidjane Thiam’s Turnaround Strategy Boosts Credit Suisse Profit

  • Credit Suisse delivers best quarter since Thiam's revamp
  • Q1 2018 profit grew roughly 16%

Credit Suisse (CS -1.18%) has turned a new corner, delivering its best quarterly results during the first quarter of 2018. Switzerland’s second-biggest bank helmed by CEO Tidjane Thiam launched his restructuring plan to bring the firm back to profitability. How important has Thiam’s leadership been to reviving this struggling bank?

Why This Matters: Profit grew roughly 16% as gains in Credit Suisse’s core business, catering to the world’s wealthy came amid a spike in market volatility and a slowdown in corporate deals. The results showed the bank benefitting from Thiam’s three-year plan to focus on wealth management over investment banking. One of his main focus areas was the company's global markets trading unit, which has been the source of billions of dollars in losses in recent years, rose to 295 million francs ($297 million). "With these first-quarter results, we got off to a good start in our third and final year of restructuring," Thiam said.

Bank earnings were strong across the board and the financials sector should be able to play catch-up and return to being one of the best-performing groups in the market.  Bank of America (BAC -0.73%) reported better-than-expected results along with J.P.Morgan (JPM -0.56%), Wells Fargo (WFC -0.74%) and Citigroup (C -0.74%) all beating analysts earnings expectations. However, the sector is the worst-performing S&P 500 group in the last month and the group is off nearly two percent, underperforming the market year to date.

What’s Next: Credit Suisse re-confirmed its 2018 targets as on track. Currently the stock still trades well below the level when Thiam took over, but has been steadily recovering from a low of 9.4 francs ($9.5) in mid-2016.

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