Credit Suisse CEO says bank relatively well positioned for Brexit

CEO Thiam of Swiss bank Credit Suisse awaits a news conference in Zurich

LONDON (Reuters) – Credit Suisse <CSGN.S> Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam said on Wednesday that his bank was relatively well placed to deal with the impact of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

Credit Suisse’s EU investment banking business is run out of London but Thiam said the Swiss lender had already been scaling back its presence in the city.

“We had, since last year, announced a plan to reduce our footprint in London. We have eliminated about 2,000 jobs in London at this point in the year. Our strategy was to deemphasise London,” he said at the Bloomberg Markets conference.

Many investment banks use their London hubs to run their EU operations, relying on the passporting system that allows them to operate across the bloc while being regulated just in Britain. The Brexit vote could threaten those arrangements, though Thiam said Credit Suisse should not face a severe hit to its business.

“We will not be very impacted by passporting. Around 15-20 pct of volumes will be impacted.”

Thiam also rowed back on some cautious comments he made at a conference in London on Tuesday regarding Credit Suisse’s third-quarter results, which the bank will report on Nov. 3.

“I think Q3 will be reasonable,” he said. “Yesterday I gave a few warnings on Q3 but fundamentally it’s still going to be a good quarter, good performance of the bank.”

(Story corrects CEO quote to show 2,000 figure refers to jobs cut, not number of employees in London.)

(Reporting by Anjuli Davies and Joshua Franklin; Editing by Rachel Armstrong and David Evans)