Credit Suisse's Thiam set to show hand as CEO

Sun Oct 18, 2015 1:07am EDT
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By Joshua Franklin and Simon Jessop

ZURICH/LONDON (Reuters) - When Tidjane Thiam unveils his plans for Credit Suisse on Wednesday the Swiss bank's new chief executive will likely rest his case on three Cs: capital, cuts and charm.

Thiam will show his hand after taking the reins at Zurich-based Credit Suisse in July from British insurer Prudential. Investors expect him to refocus the bank's business toward wealth management and asset management, while shrinking its investment bank and closing the capital gap on rivals.

Expectations remain high for Thiam after news of his appointment in March sent the bank's shares soaring almost 8 percent.

"Big ships are hard to turn," said one top 20 investor in Credit Suisse, Switzerland's second-biggest bank behind local rival UBS.

"But… he knows how financial markets work. I think he will announce some sales, a little-bigger-than-expected capital increase... and an improving dividend story."

Thiam's predecessor Brady Dougan faced criticism for not following UBS which scaled back its investment bank, an industry in flux since the financial crisis, and focused on more stable wealth management. Credit Suisse's capital position has also been a persistent concern for investors.

Credit Suisse declined to comment ahead of the Oct. 21 strategy update when the bank will also present its third-quarter results.

Near the top of Thiam's agenda at presentations in London will probably be a move to tap the market for cash.   Continued...

Tidjane Thiam speaks during a Credit Suisse news conference in Zurich, Switzerland in this March 10, 2015 file picture.  REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/Files