Shares in Credit Suisse fell nearly 12% on Thursday after the bank reported a net loss of CHF 2.94bn ($2.92 bn) for 2015, its worst result since 2008, due mainly to a huge goodwill impairment charge of CHF3.8bn, attributed largely to its investment banking business.
Credit Suisse’s International Wealth Management (IWM) division reported an adjusted pre-tax profit of CHF1.0bn in 2015, a fall of 16% compared to 2014.
In the fourth quarter the Swiss bank’s private banking division reported net asset outflows of CHF4.2bn, in line with the experience of UBS, which revealed earlier this week client withdrawals had reached CHF3.4bn in the fourth quarter.
Last October, CEO Tidjane Thiam said Asia would be key to the bank’s profitability in the future. Supporting his view was the performance the Asia-Pacific private banking division.
APAC Private Banking generated strong net new assets of CHF3.0bn in the fourth quarter compared with CHF1.6bn in the same period last year.
The number of relationship managers in the region also increased to 590 at the end of 2015, from 520 as of the end of 2014 as hiring was accelerated in the final quarter of the year.
Wealth Management focus
“We continue to believe that wealth management, supported by our investment banking capabilities, remains a uniquely attractive long-term opportunity for our bank,” said Thiam.
The bank said its asset management division had generated net new assets of CHF26.5bn last year, reflecting a 9% annualised growth, with over 25% from alternative investments. It said this came despite lower performance fees as the alternative investment industry saw the worst year since the start of the financial crisis.
Thiam said that overall his bank’s most recent results reflected “challenging conditions”.
“The fourth quarter of 2015 was characterised by volatile market conditions, pressures on market liquidity, a sharp decline in oil prices, widening credit spreads, continued uncertainty linked to asynchronous monetary policies, and large fund redemptions by market participants affecting asset prices.”