Approach & Reporting Message from the CEO and the Chairman
Urs Rohner, Chairman of the Board of Directors, and Tidjane Thiam, Chief Executive Officer, on Corporate Responsibility.
2016 was the first full year of implementation of the strategy we presented in October 2015 together with our new organizational structure. Our strategic ambition is to be a leading wealth manager with strong investment banking capabilities. We are focused on a number of strategic objectives: (i) generating profitable and compliant growth, (ii) reducing our fixed cost base and creating operational leverage, (iii) strengthening our capital position, (iv) strengthening our control and compliance environment and (v) resolving our legacy issues. We have made good progress on all these fronts.
Where our drive for efficiency requires a reduction in the size of our global workforce, we are committed to acting in the most fair and responsible way possible. Regarding our capital position, during 2016 we right-sized our investment banking activities in terms of capital usage, as well as costs and risk, and focused on improving our capital allocation. This allowed us to significantly improve our capital position. We have also made progress in resolving our legacy issues by reaching an important milestone with the announcement of a settlement with the US Department of Justice relating to our legacy residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) business. This removed a major source of uncertainty for our bank. As a result of the many steps we have taken throughout the year, we believe that we are becoming a stronger and more efficient organization focused on servicing our clients and on creating long-term value for our shareholders.
While navigating a challenging business environment in 2016, we remained focused on performing our core role as a financial services provider in accordance with clear principles and values – particularly our commitment to operating responsibly and sustainably in the interests of our stakeholders. We believe that when conducting our business activities, we must all act professionally and with integrity. Reflecting our focus on compliance, we have launched an expanded approach to Conduct and Ethics with a set of six standards that define the behaviors needed to help us realize our ambition to be a leading global bank and a trusted and respected financial partner. At the same time, we recognize the importance of international industry commitments and broader agreements such as the UN Global Compact that promote responsible business practices. We also contribute to the realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in various ways, including in our role as a financial intermediary and employer.
In line with our understanding of corporate responsibility, we continued to actively play our role as an integral part of society in 2016. We have long been committed to fostering inclusive growth by addressing a range of socio-economic challenges. For example, we work with selected partner organizations across different regions to support social and humanitarian projects with a particular focus on microfinance and education. In addition to funding, our partners benefit from the skills and expertise of our employees. We are proud that in 2016, more than 18,500 of our employees around the world volunteered over 195,000 hours of their time to support charitable causes.
Environmental and climate protection is another important dimension of our corporate responsibilities. This topic has gained further public recognition as a result of the work of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. We strive to conduct our business in an environmentally sustainable manner, and we apply internal policies and guidelines governing more sensitive industries when assessing potential business transactions in those areas.
In addition, 2017 will mark the 15th anniversary of microfinance and impact investment at Credit Suisse – a field in which we have long played a pioneering role. At an operational level, we promote the efficient use of resources within our organization and reduce the direct impacts of our activities on the environment and the climate through our global environmental management system.
At Credit Suisse, we believe it is important to engage in an active dialogue with clients, shareholders, policymakers, regulators, employees and other groups of stakeholders to gain a clear insight into the issues that are important to them and to present our own perspective on current challenges. This exchange of views and ideas has a crucial role to play in promoting mutual understanding and in building relationships of trust. This Corporate Responsibility Report is designed to be part of this constructive stakeholder dialogue and we welcome your comments on any of the topics discussed in this publication.