UBS warns of volatility ahead as Q3 net profit hits $2.12B

CNBC with Reuters
Outlook still very challenging: UBS CEO

Sergio Ermotti, chief executive of Swiss bank UBS, warned that the volatility seen in 2015 so far is set to continue.

"Volatility for clients is paralyzing the environment (for wealth management)" he said in an interview with CNBC, as the bank announced a third-quarter net profit of 2.1 billion Swiss francs ($2.12 billion), due in large part to a 1.3 billion Swiss franc net tax benefit.

"Extreme volatility, and extreme changes in client sentiment" mean that it is difficult to forecast what will happen this quarter, Ermotti added.

He spoke of the "very challenging environment" of the quarter, including the uncertainty over whether the U.S. Federal Reserve would raise interest rates (it didn't) and volatility in emerging markets.

"I am very happy about how we managed our own risks and clients' risks in the quarter," Ermotti added.

The Swiss lender's net profit figure was up considerably on the same period last year – 762 million Swiss francs – thanks to the tax benefit and a significant foreign exchange charge in the same time in 2014.

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A significant revamp of the bank's top personnel was also announced Tuesday, including a new chief financial officer in Kirt Gardner, currently CFO for wealth management, who will take over as group CFO in the New Year. Tom Naratil, the current chief financial officer, will take on the dual role of president of UBS's wealth management business in the Americas and president of UBS Americas.

Ermotti said: "All the issues that we have in front of us are still unresolved, and we have to manage the best out of it."

The bank added that it had received inquiries from authorities concerning accounts related to the world's governing body for soccer, FIFA, along with other sport associations, persons and organizations, and that UBS was co-operating with the investigations, Reuters reported.

It also stated that the former chief executive of UBS Wealth Management, Raoul Weil, was placed under formal examination in connection with proceedings in France.

In a statement accompanying the results, group chief executive Sergio Ermotti said he was pleased with the quarter's results.

"We stayed close to our clients in a very challenging environment. Disciplined execution and our diversified business model allowed us to deliver strong returns for our shareholders while continuing to invest in our future," he added.