It is tough to follow Switzerland's biggest cheese. Credit Suisse produced very good results on Wednesday, but they felt a bit flat after bumper profits at UBS the previous day and, indeed, excellent figures from Deutsche Bank before that.

Nor does CS make life easier for its followers, with an endless stream of one-off items. After revaluing the mortgage trading book, changing actuarial assumptions in life insurance and various tax adjustments, net profits appear to have jumped 45 per cent year-on-year, to around SFr1.8bn.

While strong markets played a big part, there are signs of underlying progress. This is clearest in investment banking, where key products, such as underwriting flotations and leveraged finance, are performing strongly. That helped the investment bank achieve a pre-tax margin of almost 20 per cent in the third quarter, excluding exceptionals compared to 30 per cent at UBS and 32 per cent at Deutsche. This shows how far CS still lags its European rivals, but also indicates the potential if it can control costs.

In private banking and asset management, the group's performance is already pretty much on a par with UBS. Both are recording record inflows of new money and while those at UBS are larger as a proportion of assets under management, the margin in CS's private bank is substantially higher.

As a stock, at least, CS is less in its rival's shadow, marginally outperforming UBS this year. That should continue while the markets stay strong. But UBS remains the sector's class act.

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