Credit Suisse returns to forecast-beating profit

Volatility having 'mixed' impact: Credit Suisse CEO
Volatility having 'mixed' impact: Credit Suisse CEO   

Credit Suisse on Thursday reported third-quarter net profit above analyst forecasts as investment banking revenue rose.

Net profit for the July-September period came in at 1.025 billion Swiss francs ($1.073 billion), against the average 810 million Swiss francs forecast by analysts in a poll conducted by Reuters. In the second quarter, the group posted a steep loss after it was forced to pay a U.S. fine.

Brady Dougan, chief executive of the Zurich-based banking group told CNBC that he was happy with the group's performance.

"It was a good quarter overall, we saw the businesses perform well –both the private banking [and] wealth management and the investment banking business performed well…We made good progress on costs and on reducing our non-strategic unit and the capital ratios at the end of the quarter were good so, overall, we felt like it was a good strong quarter."

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The group said its investment banking results reflected stronger profitability and returns, as well as increased client activity.

"Our strong results in fixed income trading, especially in emerging markets and securitized products, and in equity underwriting were driven by significant client transactions," Dougan said in a statement.

The start to October had been mixed, the group said, with recent volatility benefiting some businesses, although it hurt some others. It was cautious on the final quarter, saying it had a strong advisory and underwriting pipeline but the pace of execution would depend on market conditions.

Credit Suisse was one of the underwriters for Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba's initial public offering (IPO) in September, along with Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and Citigroup. Credit Suisse is believed to have been rewarded around $49 million for its work on the offering -- a figure mooted by the Wall Street Journal -- but Dougan did not want to disclose the amount.

"It was a successful deal. I think one of the positives around the transaction with Alibaba this quarter was that it was a transaction that worked across the banks so it included both the private banking side and the investment banking side. I don't think we've actually disclosed the specific total fees or revenues."

While recent market volatility had had benefits for the investment banking unit, Dougan said that too much market turbulence could have negative impacts elsewhere. As such, smoother markets were preferable, he added.

"You certainly have some benefits from the volatility and the volumes in parts of the business but clearly it makes other parts of the business more difficult – things like the new issue market, the outlook of some of our private banking clients becomes a little more challenged," he said. "I think longer term we'd like to see more consistent markets in terms of just giving people confidence on the institutional side but also on the private banking side."

The Zurich-based group pleaded guilty earlier this year to helping thousands of U.S. clients evade paying taxes to the U.S. government and agreed to pay a $2.6 billion fine.