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UBS sees profit jump 53% after early earnings release

Swiss lender UBS saw its profits soar over 50 percent in the second quarter compared to last year, after the bank reported earnings a day early following leaked figures which were reported by local Swiss media over the weekend.

The bank reported net profit of 1.2 billion Swiss francs ($1.25 billion) in the three months to March this year, up 53 percent year-on-year and beating analyst expectations as it cited positive contributions from all divisions and regions.

The Zurich based bank had been scheduled to report its latest earnings on Tuesday, but released figures a day early after Swiss weekly newspaper Sonntagszeitung reported UBS would post a net profit increase of 25 percent year-on-year, with around 1.5 billion francs in earnings in the second quarter.

"We wanted to bring some transparency and also address some incorrect and misleading information that was reported yesterday in the Swiss media," UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti told CNBC Monday.

"So since we were prepared to go ahead, we thought it was in the best interest of all stake holders to get this information out today."

UBS
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Reports in Swiss paper suggested the leaked figures came from an insider in the bank, but Ermotti said there was "no basis to come to such a quick conclusion."

"It takes two to tango. So we will see who was responsible, if anybody was responsible at all, or if it was just speculation," he added.

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The lender said its wealth management arm had seen its best second quarter since 2009, with pre-tax profits of 769 million Swiss francs and net new money of 1.8 billion Swiss francs on a reported basis.

In its investment banking unit, pre-tax profit came in at 551 million Swiss francs, although this was down 28 percent from the "very strong" first quarter. Its equities business posted its best results since 2012, when the bank overhauled the business in favor of its wealth management division.

"Well I said in the past, the one-stop-shop approach to investment banking was not necessarily the right approach for the industry and was not the correct one for UBS," Ermotti said.

In the first half of the year, the bank said net profit attributable to shareholders was up over 70 percent at 3.2 billion Swiss francs.

Looking ahead, he said seasonal impacts and macro conditions were likely to hit revenues and profits in the third quarter.

"I am confident that we are entering the second part of the year with a good momentum, although the seasonality in the third quarter is clearly higher and if you look at macro environment, the geopolitical environment is also challenging one," Ermotti

- Reuters contributed to this report

Clarification: This story has been updated since first published to clarify UBS's pre-tax profit for its investment banking operations.