A sign of Credit Suisse bank is seen on a branch building in Geneva, on March 15, 2023.
Fabrice Coffrini | AFP | Getty Images
Credit Suisse on Monday revealed that it suffered net asset outflows of 61.2 billion Swiss francs ($68.6 billion) during the first-quarter collapse that culminated in its emergency rescue by domestic rival UBS.
The stricken Swiss lender posted a one-off 12.43 billion Swiss franc profit for the first quarter of 2023, due to the controversial write-off of 15 billion Swiss francs of AT1 bonds by the Swiss regulator as part of the deal. The adjusted pre-tax loss for the quarter came in at 1.3 billion Swiss francs.
Swiss authorities brokered the controversial 3 billion Swiss franc rescue over the course of a weekend in late March, following a collapse in Credit Suisse’s deposits and share price amid fears of a global banking crisis triggered by the fall of U.S. lender Silicon Valley Bank.
In Monday’s earnings report, which could be the last in its 167-year history, Credit Suisse said it experienced significant net asset outflows, particularly in the second half of March 2023, which have “moderated but have not yet reversed as of April 24, 2023.”
First-quarter net outflows totaled 61.2 billion, 5% of the group’s assets under management as of the end of 2022. Deposit outflows represented 57% of the net asset outflows from Credit Suisse’s wealth management unit and Swiss bank for the quarter.
“In the second half of March 2023, Credit Suisse experienced significant withdrawals of cash deposits as well as non-renewal of maturing time deposits. Customer deposits declined by CHF 67 bn in 1Q23,” the bank said.
“These outflows, which were most acute in the days immediately preceding and following the announcement of the merger, stabilized to much lower levels, but had not yet reversed as of April 24, 2023.”
The acquisition is expected to be consummated by the end of this year, if possible, but the full absorption of Credit Suisse’s business into UBS Group is expected to take around three to four years.
UBS on Monday announced that its Group Chief Risk Officer Christian Bluhm will remain in post due to the planned acquisition of Credit Suisse, delaying a planned May 1 handover 1 to Damien Vogel, who will now take up the newly-created role of group risk control head of integration.
The deal remains mired in legal and logistical challenges, particularly surrounding the wipeout of $17 billion of Credit Suisse AT1 bonds. Swiss regulator FINMA faces a lawsuit from bondholders over the decision to write the AT1s — widely regarded as relatively risky investments — down to zero, while stock investors will receive payouts as part of the takeover.
At its annual general meeting last month, Chairman Axel Lehmann and CEO Ulrich Koerner apologized to shareholders and staff. Both took their posts within the last two years and inherited a bank reeling from a series of high-profile scandals, risk management failures and heavy losses.
Credit Suisse posted an annual net loss of 7.3 billion Swiss francs in 2022, including a 1.4 billion loss in the fourth quarter alone, as Lehmann and Koerner attempted a massive strategic overhaul aimed a bolstering its risk and compliance functions and addressing perennial underperformance in the investment bank.
Morningstar Equity Analyst Johann Scholtz highlighted that the first-quarter outflows marked an improvement on the final quarter of 2022, when Credit Suisse suffered net outflows of 111 billion Swiss francs.
“Wealth management clients withdrew 9% of their funds, while the outflows from the Swiss bank (1%) and asset management business (3%) were less pronounced. Customer deposits declined by 29% during the quarter,” Scholtz said in a note on Monday.
He added that one of the “missing pieces of the puzzle” was the “extent of the damage to the Credit Suisse franchise” during the banking turmoil of the first quarter.
“The bulk of client outflows was related to deposits in the wealth management business. UBS will be pleased that the higher-margin assets it invests on behalf of its wealth management clients held up reasonably well,” he said.
“Outflows from the Swiss bank and asset management business were also relatively contained. Credit Suisse indicated that although outflows have slowed, it has not turned around.”