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Why UBS Wealth Management Saw New Money Soar Even as Earnings Fell

April 25, 2019

UBS’s wealth management unit reported $872 million in earnings in the first three months of 2019, which represents a 21% drop year over year, the company says. However net new money was a bringht spot for the division.

With profits in its investment bank also falling, the company attributes its lackluster performance to “a synchronized global slowdown,” UBS says in a press release accompanying its first-quarter earnings report.

“Economic growth and markets are expected to continue to recover and stabilize at different speeds across regions and asset classes. We are likely to benefit from this environment as a result of our regional and business diversification,” the company says in the press release. “Higher invested assets are expected to lead to an increase in recurring revenues in Global Wealth Management and Asset Management, compared with the first quarter of 2019. Further momentum would require a sustained improvement in market activity and client sentiment across our businesses.”

Despite a drop in earnings, UBS’s wealth management unit was able to bring in $22.3 billion in net new money in the first quarter of 2019, representing a 4% annualized growth rate, according to the earnings report.

That was a stark improvement over the previous quarter, when clients pulled out close to $8 billion as they took money out of falling stock markets.

It’s unclear how much of the net new money in the first three months of the year came from U.S. clients, but $16 billion was in Asia-Pacific, the company says.

(Getty)

UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti is optimistic about the rest of the year, meanwhile, according to Bloomberg.

“We had a very strong finish for the quarter, which is coming a little bit into April as well,” Ermotti tells the news service. “In the second half of March market conditions and most importantly investor sentiment changed for the good.”

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the Bloomberg article cited in this story, click here.