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Julius Bär posts better-than-expected results

Private bank Julius Bär has announced a seven per cent growth in net profit for 2009. It said on Friday its assets under management had grown by a double digit margin.

The world’s largest dedicated wealth manager said full year net profit had increased to SFr473 million ($446 million), ahead of expectations, and that assets under management of private clients grew by 19 per cent to SFr154 billion.

The Zurich-based bank nevertheless cut its dividend by 20 per cent to SFr0.40 per share.

Inflows into the bank’s Asian business compensated for many Italian clients taking advantage of an Italian government tax amnesty and moving money back home from Swiss branches in 2009, as well as the bank’s phased exit from the United States.

In a statement, Julius Bär called 2009 a “transformational year” and said it had benefited by refocusing on its core strength – private banking and investment advisory services for private clients, family offices and external asset managers.

"We are well positioned to cope with what we perceive is a fundamentally changing business environment facing our industry," said chief executive Boris Collardi. "Our priorities therefore remain unchanged: to capture further growth and to capitalise on potential market opportunities."

Tier I capital ratio, an indicator of a bank’s financial health, was 24.2 per cent at the end of the year.

In October, Julius Bär purchased the Swiss private banking assets of Dutch bank ING for SFr520 million.

The bank has said it will use its cash pile for further acquisitions in Europe or Asia and raise new capital if necessary to fund a bigger buy. and agencies

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