UBS Q4 profit jumps 137% as bank reaps rich rewards

Strong lending and trading among its wealthy and ultra-wealthy clients

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ZURICH: UBS on Tuesday posted a 137 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit, as high levels of client activity helped the world’s largest wealth manager end 2020 on a strong note.
Fourth-quarter net profit of $1.708 billion far outstripped median expectations for $966 million in a poll of 20 analysts compiled by the bank.
“Our strong 2020 results clearly demonstrate the true strength of our franchise,” Chief Executive Ralph Hamers said.
Hamers, the former CEO of ING, took over from long-time UBS boss Sergio Ermotti in November.
Strong lending and trading among its wealthy and ultra-wealthy clients, coupled with a surge in investment banking activity, helped Switzerland’s biggest bank boost profits by 54 percent for the full year.
It said its board intended to propose a dividend of $0.37 per share to shareholders, while the bank plans to buy back some $1.1 billion of shares this quarter.
It will be launching a new three-year buyback program of up to 4 billion Swiss francs ($4.50 billion), as well as wrapping up an existing one, as it adjusts shareholder returns to favor buybacks more strongly than in the past.

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