Tuesday 21 January 2020 9:10 am

UBS profit slides as Swiss bank misses 2019 targets

Profit at Swiss banking giant UBS fell five per cent for the full year, as the Zurich-headquartered bank missed its targets for 2019.

Net profit for the year was $4.3bn (£3.30), down from $4.5bn in 2018.

Although profit in the final quarter of 2019 rose 129 per cent, this was largely the result of comparisons with the same period in 2018, when market earnings suffered a rout.

The bank has set itself a new target of a 12 to 15 per cent return on core capital, and a 75-78 per cent cost to income ratio until 2022.

Last year, the firm missed these targets, with a return of 12.4 per cent and a cost to income ratio of 80.5 per cent.

UBS is under pressure from extremely low interest rates, which have been in the negative for five years, and increased competition from US banks.

At its investment bank division profits halved from $1.49bn to $784m this year.

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However, there was good news at UBS’ wealth management business, which has recently undergone restructuring under new chief Iqbal Khan.

Profit at the flagship division, which will cut up to 500 jobs, rose from $3.3 to $3.4bn, in spite of a small drop in revenue.

The firm said that it was aiming for profit growth of 10 to 15 per cent in Khan’s division next year.

Chief executive Sergio Ermotti is under pressure to reduce costs but has been hit by lower profits and limited activity amongst the bank’s wealthiest clients.

In addition, the rise of passive investing poses a considerable threat to the high-fee private banking model.

UBS share price fell over five per cent in this morning’s trading, wiping out the gains made on the announcement of the restructuring announced earlier this month.

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