Credit Suisse cuts 1,500 jobs, shrinks investment bank

By Emma Thomasson and Katharina Bart

Credit Suisse

The job losses come on top of 2,000 cuts announced by the Swiss bank in July out of a total of about 50,700, aimed at saving an annual 1 billion francs ($1.2 billion). It said the new cuts should bring cost savings to 2 billion francs by 2013.

Banks are shedding jobs worldwide as stricter regulations and a tough third quarter for trading income take their toll on investment banking divisions in particular.

Japan's Nomura Holdings <8604.T>, which posted its first quarterly loss in 2-1/2 years on Tuesday, also increased its cost cutting target.

Credit Suisse Group AG shares traded 8.7 percent lower at 23.37 francs by 0848 GMT, compared with a 5.1 percent drop in European banks as a whole <.SX7P> after Greece called a referendum on the latest eurozone bailout deal.

"The results are worse than those of UBS <UBSN.VX> and Deutsche Bank <DBKGn.DE>, but the valuation (of Credit Suisse of) ... almost 1 times price-to-book value (is) one of the highest among European banks," said analyst Dirk Becker at brokerage Kepler in a research note.

The cuts will further reverse Credit Suisse Chief Executive Brady Dougan's post-crisis hiring spree focused on fixed income, the area hit most by the market downturn this year.

Dougan told Reuters Insider television the cuts would hit all regions and units, including its private bank. "It is an indicator of the direction the industry has to go," Dougan said.

Switzerland's other big bank UBS said in August it was slashing 3,500 jobs to shave 2 billion francs off annual costs and is expected to announce more cuts at an investor day on November 17, when it is due to detail an investment bank overhaul.

CS said net profit rose 12 percent to 683 million francs, missing a Reuters poll estimate for 1.1 billion.


"Weaker than expected results, strategy refinement could lead to improved business over time," said analyst Teresa Nielsen at banking group Vontobel in a client note.

In line with other banks this quarter, the Credit Suisse numbers were flattered by a 1.34 billion franc accounting gain on the value of its own debt -- which occurs because the bank could profit from buying back its own bonds at lower levels.

Stripping it out, underlying net profit was 441 million francs, above average analyst expectations for 258 million.

The investment bank reported a pretax loss of 190 million against a 231 million profit in the second quarter, as it was hit by challenging market-making conditions and continued low client activity as the macroeconomic climate deteriorated.

"We believe subdued economic growth and the low interest rate environment and increased regulation that we are seeing may persist for an extended period," Dougan, former investment bank CEO, said in a statement. "We may well continue to see ... low levels of client activity and a volatile trading environment."

Net new assets in private banking were 7.4 billion francs, also missing average analyst forecasts for 9 billion.

Credit Suisse said it had taken a provision in the quarter of 295 million francs for settling a U.S. investigation into its activities in helping wealthy Americans dodge tax. The probe is continuing although the Swiss government seems close to a deal.

The bank said the ultimate resolution of the proceedings might exceed the current provision.

Credit Suisse also took a provision of 183 million francs for a German fine to settle a separate tax investigation it had announced in September.

The bank said it was responding to new capital rules by targeting a 50 percent cut in risk-weighted assets in fixed income by 2014 and planned to more closely align investment banking with its private banking and asset management units.

It also plans cost cuts in its private bank with the goal of increasing its contribution to group pre-tax income by 800 million francs, excluding market induced growth, by 2014.

The bank said it would allocate more resources to faster growing markets such as Brazil, southeast Asia, greater China and Russia, which it expects will account for a quarter of group revenue by 2014 from 15 percent now.

($1 = 0.871 Swiss Francs)

(Additional reporting by Martin de Sa'Pinto; Editing by David Cowell and David Holmes)