Swiss banking group UBS on Tuesday reported fourth quarter net profit well above analysts' expectations, helped by a tax benefit.
Net profit for the quarter came in at 917 million Swiss francs ($1.01 billion), a stark improvement on the 1.9 billion Swiss franc net loss it reported for the same period a year ago. Analysts polled by Reuters forecast net profit of 354 million Swiss francs, but the figure was boosted by the 470 million Swiss franc tax benefit.
UBS Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti told CNBC on Tuesday that all divisions in the business had contributed to a "solid quarter" but warned that the bank could face market headwinds in 2014.
"The volatility out there is quite huge – there are a lot of unresolved matters – you've seen what's happened in the last few days in emerging markets and, overall, I do think the making predictions about the stabilization of this environment is quite hard." He added UBS was not "counting on markets to address our targets."
However, Ermotti was confident that the business could weather current market conditions and that client confidence would return.
"We are very disciplined in our execution, we are very pleased that we are still growing in terms of lending money…I'm pretty confident that our business model works indifferent market conditions as you could see in 2013."
The bank said it would pay out a dividend of 0.25 Swiss francs per share for 2013.
The latest earnings follow a troublesome couple of years for the UBS – one of the world's largest private banks by assets under management.
The bank has undergone a period of structural changes since the financial crisis, shifting its focus away from risky trading in its investment banking division toward its wealth management operations.