SWITZERLAND – Assets under management at Credit Suisse Asset Management, the fourth largest manager of European pension fund assets, have declined by 1.8%.

Swiss banking group Credit Suisse said that assets under management at its CSAM division fell 5.3 billion dollars, or 1.8%, to 291.7 billion dollars at the end of the first quarter, compared to the end of 2002. The fall was due to market declines and a net 3.8 billion dollar outflow of assets, it said.

The figures came as parent bank Credit Suisse said that profits at its Life & Pensions arm raced to 111 million francs, up from 15 million francs a year earlier.

Investment income at Life & Pensions rose to 1.2 billion francs from 771 million francs a year before. Gross premiums written declined four percent to 6.5 billion francs. The bank said the Life & Pensions business is especially exposed to continued volatility in the financial markets.

The group's total assets under management declined 2.9% to 1,160.5 billion.

The group announced a net profit of 652 million francs for the period – compared to a loss of 950 million francs in the fourth quarter of 2002. It added that Credit Suisse First Boston has also returned to profitability “due in large part to the significantly improved performance of its Institutional Securities segment”.

Operating income fell 16% 7.0 billion francs compared to the first quarter of 2002.

Co-chief executive Oswald Gruebel said the results demonstrate that the bank is making progress in returning to profitability in 2003.