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May 1, 2013

UBS's Overhaul Efforts Yield Gains

“UBS AG posted a better-than-expected first-quarter profit as the bank pushes through an extended restructuring program in the wake of the financial crisis.

The lender, Switzerland’s largest, said its performance was spurred partly by a typically strong seasonal showing from its streamlined investment bank, but the bank cautioned that in future quarters UBS will likely have to rely more on its core business of managing assets for wealthy clients.

UBS said net profit fell to 988 million Swiss francs ($1.05 billion) from 1.04 billion francs a year earlier, though analysts had expected the figure to come in at 496 million francs. The result compares with a loss of 1.89 billion francs in the fourth quarter of 2012, when UBS agreed to pay $1.5 billion to various authorities to settle charges that its staff conspired to rig key interest rates.

The lender said its wealth-management unit drew in 15 billion francs in net new money in the first quarter of the year, the highest level since 2007, before the financial crisis started. The Wealth Management Americas unit, which is separate from the other investment-management operations, attracted $9.2 billion. Pretax profit at its investment bank nearly doubled from a year earlier.”

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Read full Wall Street Journal article here

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