Asia Is Credit Suisse's Most Attractive Market

Helman Sitohang, Credit Suisse APAC CEO

Helman Sitohang, Credit Suisse APAC CEO

The CEO of Credit Suisse in Asia Pacific is encouraged with the pace and momentum of the Swiss bank's strategy in the region, after a surprise quarterly profit.

The bank recorded its highest ever assets under management in APAC at 158 billion Swiss francs and has added 30 Relationship Managers (RM's) to its Asian Private Banking business. This brings the number of RM's up to 650 across Asia Pacific, up 30 from the first quarter.

The bank would continue to add high quality bankers where it could, the bank's head of Asia Pacific Helman Sitohang said in a conference call from Credit Suisse's Zurich headquarters.

Thailand features prominently in the Swiss bank's plans, as reported in May.

Surprise Profit

The bank posted a surprise second-quarter profit versus an expected loss earlier on Thursday. The bank's cost-income ratio rose in the region due to the hires, illustrating that the bank needs to show profitability from its investments in coming quarters.

With the integrated banking model, Sitohang said, Credit Suisse is carving out a niche as the entrepreneur's bank in Asia Pacific, and would continue to focus on cultivating relationships with region's ultra-rich.

Regulatory Diligence

Sitohang voiced satisfaction with the progress the bank has made in Korea, India and Australia, where strong gains have been made from the capital markets and mergers-and-acquisitions units, which in turn have worked closely with the private bank.

When asked about the prospects for the second half of the year, Sitohang said that he was already seeing some green shoots in third quarter flows. With key commodity prices rising and China showing signs of stabilizing, APAC potentially offers the highest growth prospects, he said.

The CEO was also keen to emphasize that the bank was diligent in working closely with all regional regulators.

At a press briefing in Zurich, overall bank CEO Tidjane Thiam didn't comment on whether the bank might be ensnared in the burgeoning 1MDB scandal.





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