Credit Suisse (CS) - Get Report shares fell sharply Thursday after the Swiss-based investment bank posted weaker-than-expected third quarter earnings and said it would be "very challenging" for its global markets division to hit net revenue targets this year, complicating the turnaround efforts of CEO Tidjane Thiam.
Credit Suisse said net income for the three months ending in September rose 74% form the same period last year to Sfr424 million ($422.4 million), but fell shy of the consensus forecast of Sfr449 million as its global markets division posted a third quarter loss of Sfr96 million as revenues fell 17% to just over 1 billion Swiss francs. The bank's wealth management division, which had driven earnings in the previous quarters, saw inflow of Sfr14.8 billion in net new assets over the quarter, Credit Suisse said, taking the total to a record Sfr785 billion.
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"So far, 2018 has allowed us to illustrate the progress we have made (in the bank's three-year turnaround plan)," Thiam said in a statement. "The first and second quarters were characterised by generally favourable markets and strong client activity levels and you were able to see that we delivered a strong performance."
"Looking ahead to 2019, we anticipate further profit improvement from measures that are directly within our control, including the run-off of the Strategic Resolution Unit and lower funding and restructuring charges, which is expected to lift our Return on Tangible Equity to 10-11%," he added.
Credit Suisse shares were marked 3.3% lower in the opening hour of trading in Zurich and changing hands at Sfr12.78 each, a move that extends its year-to-date decline past 28% compared to a 20% slide for Swiss rival UBS Group (UBS) - Get Report over the same period.
"The outlook for global economic growth in the final quarter of 2018 remains positive, despite continued geopolitical tensions surrounding global trade and the potential impact of monetary policy changes by central banks," the bank said, but noted that "sentiment turned more negative during the third quarter and we expect this to continue in the fourth quarter."
Thiam, who has led Credit Suisse since June 2015, has both frustrated shareholders with the slow pace of the bank's turnaround and won their support for his plans to pivot the group towards wealth management while slashing costs in other divisions such as trading and lending.
However, RBR Capital Advisors AG, an activist European hedge fund, had earlier this year called for the bank to split its operators in order to boost shareholder value but appears now to want it to focus on an IT revamp and a further reduction in overall costs. Credit Suisse said Thursday that it's on track to meet its 2018 target of cumulative net cost savings of more than Sfr4.2 billion