Top Swiss bank UBS smashes expectations with 99% rise in third-quarter net profit as trading and wealth management surge

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen at a branch office in Basel, Switzerland March 2, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen in Basel


  • Swiss lender UBS posted a 99% jump in third-quarter net profit to $2.1 billion, boosted by a strong rise in trading revenue in its investment banking and wealth management divisions.
  • Revenue from the investment bank division jumped to $2.5 billion from $1.7 billion a year ago, while global wealth management revenue rose to $4.3 billion from $4.1 billion.
  • The bank’s loan losses remained relatively low this quarter, compared to the provisions set aside in the first two quarters of the year during the depths of the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • The third-quarter results will be the last under CEO Sergio Ermotti’s leadership as he leaves the post this month, making way for Ralph Hamers – former CEO of ING Group.
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UBS posted a 99% jump in third-quarter profit to $2.1 billion on Tuesday, easily hammering analyst expectations, driven by a surge in its trading and wealth management divisions.

UBS, the biggest Swiss bank by assets and the world’s largest wealth manager, said it set aside $1.5 billion to repurchase shares next year, reflecting an overall strong performance across its businesses. 

The bank, with $980 billion in assets under management, attributed its growth to the “benefits of a well-diversified business model with broad regional mix.”

UBS shares were up 2.3% at 11.18 Swiss francs ($12.29) in mid-morning trade in Zurich. Shares in rival Credit Suisse were trading 0.3% higher at 9.85 francs.

Here are the key numbers:

Net profit: $2.1 billion versus $1.05 billion last year and an expected $1.5 billion, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

Earnings per share: $0.56 versus $0.28 last year

Operating profit: $8.9 billion versus $7.08 billion last year

“Our third quarter results continue to demonstrate that our strategy is differentiating us as we continuously adapt and accelerate the pace of change,” outgoing CEO Sergio Ermotti said in a statement. 

UBS’ third-quarter results will be the last under Ermotti’s tenure as he departs this month to become chairman at Swiss Re. Ralph Hamers, formerly the CEO of ING Group, will take his place on November 1. 

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Investment bank revenue rose to $2.5 billion from $1.7 billion a year ago, and revenue from the global wealth management division rose to $4.3 billion from $4.1 billion.

The Swiss lender and other banks with wealth-management divisions have seen a surge in revenue this year, helped by client investing and deal-making.

The bank’s loan losses in the quarter were $89 million, lower than the provisions taken in the first and second quarters of $268 million and $272 million. This was also lower than the $225 million analysts polled by Bloomberg estimated.

UBS accrued about $1 billion towards its expected 2021 dividend and said the second instalment of the 2019 dividend would be paid on November 27.

The bank’s third-quarter was still hurt by a $5.5 billion of tax-related outflows in the US, where the deadline for filing of taxes moved by a month to July from April.

UBS also announced that sustainable investments are its preferred solution for private investments. The bank manages $488 billion in core sustainable assets.

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