The new Credit Suisse CEO just signalled a major strategic shift toward Asia

Tidjane Thiam speaks during a Credit Suisse news conference in Zurich, March 10, 2015. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann Thomson ReutersThiam speaks during a Credit Suisse news conference in Zurich

The new chief executive of Credit Suisse delivered his first set of quarterly results this morning, and he couldn’t stop talking about Asia Pacific.

The Swiss bank, which has a large investment banking and asset management operation in the U.S, reported solid second quarter profits of 1.1 billion Swiss francs. The results are the first since Tidjane Thiam took over as chief executive from American Brady Dougan, and analysts had expected some sort of update on the bank’s capital plans.

Instead, the new chief executive chose to focus on Asia Pacific, which was mentioned in four of the first five sentences in his results comments, and nine times in a letter to shareholders signed by Thiam and chairman Urs Rohner.

JP Morgan analyst Kian Abouhossein said in a note this morning: “Capital has improved but communication around capital is key with the new CEO on board. So what will drive the stock?

“The main focus in our view will be on strategic direction by the new CEO Tidjane Thiam. The shareholder letter does not address the issue of capital except mentioning that capital intensity needs to be reduced but mentions Asia 9x including result comments.”

Thiam and Rohner said in their joint shareholder letter that Asia Pacific accounted for 16% of its overall revenues and 27% of its pre-tax income in the first half, suggesting that the bank’s businesses in the region are some of its most profitable.

Under a header titled ‘Credit Suisse of the future’ in the shareholder letter, the two also highlighted the success they have enjoyed servicing entrepreneurs in the region with both wealth management and investment banking products.

Expect to hear Thiam talking about Asia Pacific a whole lot more in future.

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