Credit Suisse chairman sees more efficiency work ahead

ZURICH (Reuters) – Credit Suisse still has work ahead after making good progress towards achieving targets set for a three-year turnaround, Chairman Urs Rohner told the group’s annual general meeting on Friday.

FILE PHOTO – CEO Tidjane Thiam sites beside Chairman Urs Rohner of Swiss bank Credit Suisse as he addresses the audience at the bank’s extraordinary shareholder meeting in Zurich, Switzerland May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

“Quite clearly, we still have plenty of work to do,” Rohner told shareholders. “But the fact remains, ladies and gentlemen, that we are well on track to achieve the goals we have set ourselves, even if some people originally expressed doubts about this.”

Credit Suisse this week delivered its best quarterly results since Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam in 2016 launched his restructuring plan for Switzerland’s second-biggest bank, driven by its wealth management business.

Key to higher future earnings will be the bank’s wind-down of its so-called Strategic Resolution Unit, a huge source of losses which is selling out of non-core businesses.

Credit Suisse on Wednesday confirmed the wind-down’s completion by the end of this year and reiterated its cost-saving target of above 4.2 billion Swiss francs ($4.24 billion).

CEO Tidjane Thiam (L) and Chairman Urs Rohner of Swiss bank Credit Suisse attend the bank’s annual shareholder meeting in Zurich, Switzerland April 27, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Speaking to the need to drive efficiency, Rohner said the bank intends to lean on technological innovation to reduce costs and increase its ability to identify compliance risks.

“We are streamlining our operating activities, improving our compliance processes, and making substantial investments in new technologies,” said Rohner, who has been chairman since 2011.

“We have hired a group of creative minds in Silicon Valley, whose task it is to develop ideas with the potential to transform banking in the future.”

The industry should not close its eyes to the possibility that digital innovation will transform banking, even if competition from so-called fintech startups hasn’t been disruptive so far, he said. He expected the financial sector’s profitability to improve over the next few years.

($1 = 0.9904 Swiss francs)

Editing by Michael Shields