Financial Results

Credit Suisse Books Expected Archegos Loss; "Strong" Underlying Results

Tom Burroughes Group Editor London 22 April 2021


The bank said that it is offering convertible notes to help bolster its capital in the wake of the Archegos affair. As previously stated, the bank has logged a credit loss provision of around SFr4.4 billion.

Credit Suisse booked an expected net loss in the first three months of 2021 – SFr252 million ($275.5 million) – as a result of the heavy blow sustained by the Archegos hedge fund blow-up to which it was exposed – taking the shine off what would otherwise have been a strong quarter. On a pre-tax basis, the Q1 loss was SFr757 million.

The Zurich-listed bank said that provision for credit losses surged to almost SFr4.4 billion in Q1, standing at SFr4.394 billion, up from SFr568 billion a year ago – or up by 80 per cent. Return on tangible equity attributable to shareholders slipped into to the red, to -2.6 per cent, against 13.1 per cent a year before.

To bolster its capital, the bank announced that it will offer two series of mandatory convertible notes (MCNs), Series A MCNs and Series B MCNs, which will be convertible into 100 million shares and 103 million shares of Credit Suisse Group, respectively. The offering is expected to close on or around 12 May. Credit Suisse has suspended its share buyback programme.

When the Archegos impact is excluded, pre-tax income surged by 280 per cent year-on-year to SFr3.596 billion, on a 35 per cent rise in net revenues to SFr7.430 billion. 

Wealth management net revenues rose by 3 per cent to SFr3.882 billion, while investment banking net revenues (measured in dollars) rose by 80 per cent, to $3.888 billion.

“Our results for the first quarter of 2021 have been significantly impacted by a SFr4.4 billion charge related to a US-based hedge fund. The loss we report this quarter, because of this matter, is unacceptable,” Thomas Gottstein, chief executive, said. 

The bank had been a prime broker to the New York-based Archegos fund – structured as a family office, and was hit, along with Nomura and a handful of other banks, by the fund’s inability to meet margin calls as its investment bets turned sour. The losses, along with the Greensill supply-chain finance saga to which the bank was exposed, have made for a turbulent start to 2021 for the bank. A number of C-suite figures have left the bank. 

Gottstein said: “Among other decisive actions, we have made changes in our senior business and control functions; we have enhanced our risk review across the bank; we have launched independent investigations into these matters by external advisors, supervised by a special committee of the board; and we have taken several capital-related actions. We will work to ensure Credit Suisse emerges stronger.”

“However, it is also important to recognise that our underlying 1Q21 financial performance, across all divisions, was strong, supported by solid results in Switzerland, and strong growth in APAC and investment banking,” he said. 

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