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Wealth management boosts UBS 2014 profits

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Wealth management boosts UBS 2014 profits
UBS shares dropped as investors responded to results. Photo: The Local
10:03 CET+01:00
Switzerland's largest bank UBS on Tuesday reported a profit of 3.57 billion francs ($3.9 billion) for 2014, a 13 percent increase from the previous year.

The bank’s results were boosted by the performance of its wealth management division, which posted its highest profit since 2008 and attracted net new money of 34.4 billion francs, reflecting the biggest net inflows of money from Asia Pacific since 2007.

The bank recorded a net profit of 963 million francs in the fourth quarter of 2014, up from 917 million francs in the same period a year earlier.

UBS said all of its business divisions made "significant progress" in 2014.

The bank is proposing to double its dividend to shareholders to 50 cents a share.

After restructuring as a new group holding company, UBS is also planning to offer a one-time supplementary "capital return" of 25 cents a share.

 "I am pleased with what we have achieved in 2014," the bank's CEO Sergio Ermotti said in a statement.

"The results are strong, our capital is strong and we've completed our strategic transformation, preparing us well for the future," Ermotti said.

"While it's premature to draw a conclusion about the quarter, we've had a solid start to the year," he said.

"This gives us additional confidence to propose a significant capital return to our shareholders." 

Investors did not share the optimism, however, driving down UBS's share price by more than three percent in morning trading.

Among other issues facing the bank is a strong Swiss franc and negative interest rates imposed last month by Switzerland's central bank.

UBS has said it would pass on the negative rates to its large institutional and corporate account holders.

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