Business

UBS profits slide as rich clients turn cautious on turbulent markets

UBS reported a 24 per cent fall in net profit, as its rich clients held back from turbulent markets and investment banking revenues shrank.

The world’s biggest wealth manager generated $1.7bn of net profit in the third quarter, ahead of analyst estimates of $1.5bn, on $8.2bn of revenue.

“Clients remain concerned about persistently high inflation, elevated energy prices, the war in Ukraine and residual effects of the pandemic,” said chief executive Ralph Hamers.

“In Switzerland, many of our retail and small business clients will also be impacted by disruptions across the rest of Europe, and we are focused on supporting them through the energy crisis.”

Analysts had predicted UBS would be the strongest European bank in the third quarter thanks to its wealth management business benefiting from rising interest rates, but that its performance would be offset by its risk-averse clients making fewer transactions and a sharp fall in investment banking revenues.

Its cost-income ratio rose 3.1 percentage points to 71.8 per cent, though still within its target range of 70-73 per cent.

The five biggest US banks reported $32bn of investment banking revenues for the third quarter this month, down 16 per cent compared with a year earlier.

Fixed income, currencies and commodities revenues (FICC) for the US banks rose 23 per cent over the same period, while equities revenues were down 13 per cent and advisory revenues were down 54 per cent.

Based on those figures, analysts at Citi predicted European investment banking revenues would be down 33 per cent, FICC up 3 per cent, equities down 26 per cent and advisory down 72 per cent.

UBS investment banking revenues dropped 19 per cent to $2bn, with revenues at the group’s global banking division, which includes its advisory and capital markets business, decreasing 58 per cent. However, global markets revenues were down just 1 per cent as a fall in equities income was offset by a strong performance in foreign exchange and rates.


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