Wealth management boom helps UBS report $2.3 billion profit, beating estimates

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UBS has beaten analyst expectations in the third quarter as its wealth management division continued to outperform.

The Swiss bank on Tuesday reported net profit attributable to shareholders of $2.3 billion for the period, up from $2 billion in the second quarter. Analysts had expected the figure to come in at $1.57 billion, according to estimates collected by Refinitiv.

It marks a 9% increase in net profit from the same period a year before and the best quarterly results in six years.

Describing the latest quarter, CEO Ralph Hamers told CNBC Tuesday: “There is continued momentum in the markets. We are getting more clients, clients are looking for alternative investments — we have been able to support them through the ecosystem of opportunities.”

The bank’s wealth management division provided a significant boost to its results once again, with invested assets rising to $3.2 trillion. The division’s profit before tax increased 43% to $1.5 billion.

Here are other highlights for the third quarter:

  • CET 1 ratio, a measure of bank solvency, reached 14.9% versus 14.5% in the previous three months.
  • Operating income came in at $9.1 billion versus $9 billion in the previous quarter.
  • Return on equity, a measure of financial performance, stood at 15.3% from 13.7% in the second quarter.

Shares in the bank traded 1.5% higher in early trading.

Going forward, Hamers said he expects further business activity to support the bank.

“We do expect, on the M&A side, on the advisory side, and even on the equity capital markets side, it continues momentum there — investors are still seeking to invest,” Hamers told CNBC’s Geoff Cutmore.

“We expect them to stay constructive for the foreseeable couple of months.”

On the crypto sidelines

When it comes to crypto, which has gained in popularity as some investors look for sizeable and fast returns, Hamers said there was still too much uncertainty for the bank to offer these products to their clients.

Last week, bitcoin notched a fresh all-time high as investors cheered the successful launch of the first U.S. bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund.

“At this moment, we stay on the sidelines there,” the UBS CEO said. “We feel that the market hasn’t really come to a point where people truly understand the underlying factors that influence the value of some of these cryptocurrencies.”

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