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UBS result shows there is room for improvement

Swiss bank UBS returned to profit in 2010 but chief executive Oswald Grübel says results have to be better.

Net profit for the year as a whole was SFr7.2 billion ($7.55 billion) compared with a loss of $2.7 billion in 2009. It is the first time the bank has been in the black since 2006.

UBS reported in a statement that net profit in the fourth quarter of 2010 was SFr1.29 billion, with net new money SFr7.1 billion.

“While we made substantial progress in 2010, we are fully aware that we have to continue to improve our results,” Grübel said.

UBS said that its cost discipline had been maintained with the bank achieving its fixed cost target of less than SFr20 billion in 2010. It had reduced its bonus pool target by ten per cent to SFr4.3 billion from SFr4.8 billion in 2009.

However, it added that it would not be paying shareholders a dividend for the year.

Reuters news agency said UBS’s core wealth management arm made little progress in winning new money after clients faced with heavy writedowns on toxic assets and a damaging tax dispute with the United States pulled out nearly SFr400 billion.

The bank booked net money outflows for the third year running, despite the fourth quarter being the second consecutive quarter of modest client money growth. While the bank won client money in the Asia/Pacific region, it continued to bleed assets in Europe.

Switzerland’s other big bank, Credit Suisse, reports its figures on Thursday.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR