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Bank earnings exgraphaganza: Thiam thinks Credit Suisse is an outlier – is it?

Credit Suisse’s CEO says his firm stands out in Europe: the numbers suggest he’s right


We’ve reached the end of the results season, so are the Europeans making any headway at all against their US cousins? Well, it's certainly not all bad news. Credit Suisse chief executive Tidjane Thiam, for instance, was able to pluck out a revenue figure that showed his firm in a better light than anyone else.

It is commonly said that European banks are losing ground against the Americans, he told analysts on November 1, before adding that this was not the case for Credit Suisse. No, sir.

Not entirely surprisingly, Thiam was taking a pretty specific number to make his point: the percentage change between the third quarter of 2015 and the third quarter of 2018 – and only for advisory and underwriting. But while the numbers of some peers going that far back are subject to ‘interpretation’ – given multiple restatements, currency changes and lack of consistency in how the figures are broken down – his broad thrust was nonetheless right.

Sure enough, over that precise period and using that precise business mix, Credit Suisse saw a jump of 31% in revenues – more than any other global peer, including the US firms.

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