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Julius Bär chairman, Thomas Bär. Julius Bär

The Swiss private bank Julius Bär has reported a 14 per cent drop in first-half net profit to SFr118 million from SFr138 million a year ago.

Assets under management were eight per cent lower than at the end of 2001 and stood at SFr177 billion.

In a statement on Friday the bank blamed the turbulent financial markets for the results – which came at the lower end of expectations – and warned that it would need to take further cost-cutting measures.

Bär, which is Switzerland’s largest independent private bank, said depressed transaction volumes and lower portfolio management fees had had a negative effect on income.

On the positive side, the bank pointed to the success of cost-cutting measures during 2001, which led to a 14 per cent drop in operating expenses during the first half.

Job cuts

Bär said it was expecting market conditions to remain difficult and was therefore planning further cost-cutting measures.

Spokesman Jürg Stähelin said jobs would be lost in the coming months, although no figure could be given at present. The bank currently employs 2,324 people.

The profitability of the individual businesses would also be reviewed.

Bär said that private banking had performed reliably despite the difficult operating conditions and represented the largest share – 42 per cent – of operating income.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR