Credit Suisse has stood out like a sore thumb in what’s been a pretty decent environment for Wall Street.
On Wednesday the Swiss banking giant
warned it would be reporting its third loss in a row, news that sent its Zurich-listed shares
5% lower. The bank has struggled to move past its role in two major scandals, at Archegos and Greensill Capital.
Credit Suisse only alluded to those two issues in its update on Wednesday. In investment banking, it said continued low levels of capital markets issuance and a widening in credit spreads are likely to lead to a loss in the division. It said warned about weak customer flows and ongoing client deleveraging, particularly in the Asia Pacific region.
Credit Suisse also flagged the declining value of its stake in Allfunds Group
which has dropped 54% this year.
The bank said it will provide more details about cost cutting at an investor day on June 28.
Andrew Coombs, an analyst at Citi, was scathing but nonetheless has a buy rating on the stock, saying it’s cheap on a 0.4 price-to-tangible book value ration. Coombs assigns zero value to the investment banking division. “Today’s profit warning blames the ‘current geopolitical situation’ and ‘significant monetary tightening’ yet we would argue CS’ predicament may be largely self-inflicted. We would highlight that Archegos was not a CS specific event, yet the subsequent behavior and strategic planning has been,” he said.
He suggested wealthy clients may be deleveraging at Credit Suisse but not other banks. In the first quarter, he noted, net loans for wealth management at arch rival UBS
rose 5% year over year, while they fell 14% at Credit Suisse.
Anke Reigen, an analyst at RBC Capital, also wondered the degree to which Credit Suisse wounds were self-inflicted. “Weak performance in the investment bank is not unexpected, but the weak performance in other parts of the bank, especially wealth management, is more disappointing and shows the challenges CS is facing to improve its operating performance in the current environment. Taking more action on costs is positive but appears to take some time,” he said.
The big question for the stock is whether it will have to issue equity to support its capital levels. The bank didn’t say where its CET1 ratio stood, but said it wants to operate with a ratio of around 13.5%, compared to 13.8% in te first quarter.