24/02/2020 • Morningstar

CS Victims: Credit Suisse earnings call overshadowed by analysts’ litigation concerns

Following his surprise resignation last week, Tidjane Thiam’s last earnings announcement as Chief Executive Officer was dominated by questions about litigation as worried analysts questioned Credit Suisse’s provisions to settle ongoing actions against the Bank, including those brought by clients of CS Victims, a group of clients who were victims of an estimated $1 billion fraud perpetrated by the Bank’s personnel over seven years.

Although Thiam and Chief Financial Officer, David Mathers, mentioned the provisions for litigation in their presentations, their explanations didn’t reassure analysts on the call who then raised their concerns during the Question and Answer session.

Responding to a question from Citibank, officials for Credit Suisse refused to comment on ongoing legal actions against the Bank and admitted that Credit Suisse had increased ‘so-called major litigation provisions.’ A representative from Royal Bank of Canada then questioned the way in which Credit Suisse was apportioning the provisions, asking for more detail on the probability of some of the claims. Officials for Credit Suisse were forced to admit that the true number for ‘Reasonably Possible Losses’ would not be finalised until the annual report was published.

Credit Suisse was asked by a representative of Goldman Sachs to explain why a litigation charge, which was thought to have been settled, had been booked in the quarter. Officials for Credit Suisse refused to provide additional detail on this and claimed that it related to legacy and civil claims. The representative of Goldman Sachs then pointed out that the charge was ‘substantial’ and unexpected and questioned whether additional charges were possible in the future. Officials for Credit Suisse refused to give a straight answer, claiming that the question was ‘a little on the specific nature’ and moved to the next question.

A spokesperson for CS Victims commented:

‘The situation at Credit Suisse goes from bad to worse. In the past ten days, some of the Bank’s biggest shareholders for the resignation of the Chairman, the CEO has been pushed out and the Bank has lost a major case in Bermuda relating to a $1 billion fraud committed by Credit Suisse’s personnel. In addition, the share price is underperforming, and analysts continue to have questions about Credit Suisse’s provisions for ongoing litigation claims.

New Credit Suisse CEO Thomas Mr. Gottstein clearly has serious issues to address in the coming months and we look forward to working with him to bring our clients’ own claims to a satisfactory conclusion.’

To find out more visit Morningstar.