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Trust and expertise
We strive to conduct our business responsibly and professionally – offering high-quality financial solutions and expert advice to our clients around the globe.
Credit Suisse is committed to operating professionally and with integrity to gain and maintain the trust of our stakeholders. Our strategy is to be a leading wealth manager with strong investment banking capabilities. We want to capture the opportunities available to us as a provider of integrated solutions that address the private wealth and business needs of ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) individuals and successful entrepreneurs around the globe.
Our regionalized approach allows us to stay close to our clients while capturing global synergies. It also drives agile decision-making and promotes greater accountability and a more effective control framework, particularly in the areas of compliance and risk management. Based on our strategy and organizational set-up, we believe that Credit Suisse is well positioned to create value for our shareholders, clients and employees, as well as other stakeholders.
2019 was Credit Suisse’s first full year of operating under our new model following the completion of a deep three-year restructuring program. Through the disciplined execution of our strategy, we have not only grown our wealth management franchise and right-sized our more market-dependent activities but have also made the bank more resilient by reducing risks, lowering fixed costs and strengthening our capital base.
In 2019, Credit Suisse reported pre-tax income of CHF 4.7 billion, including certain significant items, a 40% increase compared to the previous year. Net income attributable to shareholders totaled CHF 3.4 billion in 2019, up 69% compared to 2018.
We generated quality, profitable growth in our Wealth Management-related businesses in Swiss Universal Bank, International Wealth Management and Wealth Management & Connected within Asia Pacific in 2019, despite the headwinds created by negative interest rates. Following the completion of the restructuring, our right-sized and de-risked Global Markets business delivered a strong performance in 2019 with higher revenues and lower costs, creating positive operating leverage.
Overall, Credit Suisse attracted CHF 79.3 billion of net new assets in 2019. This brings our total net asset inflows since 2016 to CHF 198 billion, reflecting the trust that clients place in our bank. At the end of 2019, assets under management reached CHF 1.5 trillion.
Capital strength is an important aspect that clients consider in their choice of financial partner. Credit Suisse has significantly strengthened its capital position in recent years and reported a CET1 ratio of 12.7% and a Tier 1 leverage ratio of 5.5% at the end of 2019. We also successfully completed the 2019 share buyback program approved by the Board of Directors of Credit Suisse Group AG, repurchasing CHF 1 billion of shares by the end of the year, and we paid CHF 695 million of dividends, bringing our total 2019 distribution to shareholders to CHF 1.7 billion.
Credit Suisse’s cost base has been transformed as a result of the restructuring program and we have remained disciplined on costs, enabling us to once again drive positive operating leverage in 2019. We have also made significant progress in strengthening risk management, controls and our compliance framework to ensure that the bank can focus on supporting and delivering high-quality financial solutions to clients around the globe and on achieving sustainable, compliant and profitable growth.
Detailed information on our strategy and financial performance is provided in Credit Suisse’s Annual Report 2019.