After a calamitous 2021 financial yearand scarred by the Greensill and Archegos cases, Credit Suisse boss Thomas Gottstein is hopeful of raising the bar and ending 2022 in the green, despite an expected drop in revenue.
“As we have reduced risk, our revenue base has decreased,” explained the leader in an interview published on Friday on the site of finance and economy. It is now a matter of “doing the homework” and returning “in a disciplined manner” to a course of long-term growth, he added, referring to 2022 as a “year of transition”.
Deficit… of communication
According to Thomas Gottstein, the excessive optimism of the financial community is to be put down to communication “not good enough”, insisting on the fact that the number two Swiss bank had signaled as early as November in the wake of its strategic refocusing, that the restructuring measures would take time to bear fruit.
“We expect a profit in 2022,” assured the boss of Credit Suisse, even if factors of uncertainty such as “Russia, China, inflation and the rate environment” remain difficult to assess.
Faced with the stock market tumble in Credit Suisse shares, Thomas Gottstein believes that the bank is “substantially undervalued” but does not believe in a takeover by a competitor, stressing that “the takeover of a systemically important bank does not is not so easy”.
Asked about his relations with the new president Axel Lehmann, who succeeded the Portuguese António Horta-Osório after the latter’s resignation, entangled in a scandal for having broken quarantine rules, Thomas Gottstein described as “very good” the first met. “We are 100% in agreement on the strategic issues and we are focused on implementing the new strategy.”
Poor risk management
For the captain of the bank with two sails, “cultural change” cannot simply be decreed. “We must have noticed shortcomings in our risk culture”, he conceded, explaining this in particular by the “very decentralized” organization and the departure of “many important risk managers” in recent years. years.
Credit Suisse ended the 2021 financial year with a net loss of 1.57 billion francs, compared to the profit of 2.7 billion generated the previous year.
In addition to the poor financial performance, there has been a series of scandals that have followed one another in recent months, between the hasty departure of the former president, a case of fraudulent credits granted to Mozambique and another around his relations with a clan Bulgarian, involved in cocaine trafficking and money laundering, which earned him to be in the sights of the Federal Criminal Court (TPF).