Business Strategy and Outlook| Johann Scholtz, CFA |
Credit Suisse's true underlying profitability has been masked for the better part of a decade by multiple restructuring charges and the cost of running down a legacy book of unprofitable assets. The new management team at the helm of Credit Suisse hoped that it addressed all issues during 2020, but new problematic exposures continue to crop up. This suggests a deeper risk management malaise at Credit Suisse. Credit Suisse has some very good, profitable, and generally asset-light business with good long-term secular growth prospects—especially in wealth management/private banking and the Swiss universal bank. The discount that the market has imposed on the rating of Credit Suisse relative to UBS and its other peers should, however, remain in place until Credit Suisse can convince investors that it has addressed its risk management deficiencies. We believe that Credit Suisse will have to report several quarters of results free from the large non-recurring items that have historically marred its results.