Credit Suisse’s CEO says outflows have declined “very significantly” as the review progresses

Switzerland’s second largest bank, Credit Suisse, is seen here next to a Swiss flag in downtown Geneva.

Fabrice Cofrini | AFP | Getty Images

Credit Switzerland is seeing a sharp reduction in customer outflows as the embattled Swiss lender moves forward with its major strategic overhaul, new CEO Ulrich Koerner told CNBC on Wednesday.

The bank in November forecast a $1.6 billion fourth-quarter loss after announcing a series of measures to address its investment bank’s continued underperformance and a series of risk and compliance failures. It also revealed at the time that it had experienced significant net asset outflows.

“The outflow, as we said, has reduced very significantly and we are now seeing money coming back in different parts of the business,” Koerner said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

As part of the review, Credit Suisse shareholders in November gave the green light to a $4.2 billion capital raise, including a new private equity offering that would make the Saudi National Bank the largest stakeholder with a 9.9% stake.

Koerner said the transformation to a “new Credit Suisse” went well.

“We’ve put together a very clear plan and we’ve been talking to all the different stakeholder groups over the last three months, as you would expect,” he said.

“I think the plan and the strategy are very successful. We are in full swing, so I think we are making really good progress.”

Credit Suisse has also reached out to tens of thousands of customers in Switzerland and around the world for feedback, Koerner said.

“That has generated very positive momentum, and I think that momentum will be with us into 2023,” he added.

‘Don’t worry’ about Klein’s company takeover

Koerner confirmed that the reported departure of 10% of Credit Suisse’s investment bankers in Europe was part of previously announced plans to cut 2,700 jobs by 2023 and cut the workforce by a total of 9,000 by 2025.

As part of the review, Credit Suisse will spin off its U.S. investment banking division and rename it CS First Boston. The new unit will be led by former Credit Suisse board member Michael Klein. Credit Suisse is reportedly about to acquire Klein’s investment advisory firm.

Koerner insisted he had “no concerns” about conflicts of interest, stressing that the bank would be able to handle the situation “in the most professional manner”.

“I’m really looking forward to Michael joining because Michael is an excellent banker, he’s an excellent deal maker and he’s very entrepreneurial. That’s why I want to go on the journey with him.”

American investor Harris Associates has more than halved its stake in Credit Suisse since June 2022. Koerner said he couldn’t judge the company on its timing, but “we’ll definitely have talks.”