UBS plans to restart share buybacks, logs Q4 loss © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen at an office building in Zurich, Switzerland October 25, 2022. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

By Noele Illien

ZURICH (Reuters) -UBS said on Tuesday it had completed the first phase of integrating fallen rival Credit Suisse, was benefiting from net new asset flows and plans to restart share buybacks in the second half of the year, with up to $1 billion slated for 2024.

The Swiss bank also said it was proposing a dividend of $0.70 per share for 2023, a 27% increase.

The cost of absorbing Credit Suisse led the world’s biggest wealth manager to post a net loss of $279 million in the fourth quarter, slightly smaller than a company-compiled consensus estimate for a $285 million loss.

“With enhanced scale and capabilities across our leading client franchises and improved resource discipline, we will drive sustainable long-term growth and higher returns,” CEO Sergio Ermotti said in a statement.

The world’s biggest wealth manager affirmed key financial targets and set new ones including an ambition for its wealth management arm to have $5 trillion of invested assets by 2028.

UBS also said it was aiming to see net new assets of $200 billion flow into the bank per year by 2028.

Ermotti said clients had entrusted the bank with $77 billion of net new assets since the acquisition.

UBS also revealed it was targeting $13 billion in cost savings by the end of 2026, with half expected by the end of this year.

Since the shotgun takeover was announced last March – marking the first-ever merger of two global systemically important banks, UBS has managed to avoid any major ructions and has seen its share price jump some 50%.

That said, it has still to tackle some of the trickier stages of integrating the two banks such as combining the separate IT systems as well as its legal entities.

The bank will also begin to migrate Credit Suisse clients, with clients in Singapore, Hong Kong and Luxembourg the first to be moved.


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