ZURICH (AFP) – Swiss banking giant UBS saw its net profits jump nearly five times last year to $ 4.9 billion (€ 4.3 billion) despite “difficult conditions”, a- he said yesterday.
UBS’s results in 2017 were shaken by tax reforms in the United States (US) which forced banks operating in the United States to record substantial one-off losses in the last quarter of this year, but which are expected to be mostly favorable beyond.
Excluding the impact of changes in US tax laws, UBS’s 2018 full net income is still up 25% from the previous year.
“I would like to thank all UBS employees for a very successful 2018 under generally difficult conditions,” CEO Sergio P Ermotti said in a statement.
He highlighted geopolitical tensions, heightened protectionism and trade frictions, as well as financial market volatility, all of which weighed on investor sentiment in the second half of the year.
“We have seen some normalization in the markets in early 2019, we will remain focused on balancing efficiency and investing for growth, to continue to meet our return on capital goals while creating long-term sustainable value for our shareholders, ”said Ermotti.
Commenting on the fourth quarter of 2018, he added: “The strength of our strategic choices and our diversified franchise has once again manifested itself… as we have achieved a resilient performance despite historically difficult market conditions.
Net profit for the quarter was $ 696 million, below an analyst average forecast compiled by Swiss agency AWP of $ 751 million.
Client transactions in the Americas and Asia-Pacific region collapsed, with the investment banking unit posting an 84 percent drop in pre-tax operating profit due to a challenging market environment.