UBS reports record result for first quarter 2000:
UBS reports a net profit after tax and minority interests of CHF 2,216 million for first quarter 2000, up 41% over first quarter 1999. Before goodwill amortization, this represents basic earnings per share of CHF 6.04, an increase of 52% over first quarter 1999, and an annualized return on equity of 33.2%. Group assets under management increased CHF 23 billion to CHF 1,767 billion.
UBS achieved a record result in first quarter 2000 with a net profit after tax and minority interests of CHF 2,216 million. This represents an increase of 41% on a reported basis over first quarter 1999, and a 50% increase adjusted for the divestment proceeds during that quarter. The Group's annualized return on equity substantially exceeded the 15-20% target range: before goodwill amortization and adjusted for the first-quarter 1999 divestment, it rose from 22.2% to 33.2%. On the same basis and adjusted for the recent share split, basic earnings per share increased from CHF 3.75 in first quarter 1999 to CHF 6.04, comfortably achieving the target of double-digit growth. The cost-income ratio before goodwill amortization fell sharply to 66.5% from 79.9% in fourth quarter 1999, to a level slightly below the 67.4% recorded in first quarter 1999.
Assets under management within the Group increased by CHF 23 billion during the quarter, with gains in Private Banking partially offset by a decrease in institutional assets. Net new money in the private banking units of UBS Switzerland and UBS Warburg grew to CHF 6 billion compared to CHF 3 billion in fourth quarter 1999.
This is an outstanding result for the Group as a whole and reflects strong performance across the major business groups. UBS Warburg achieved a record result with pre-tax earnings of CHF 1,319 million. Private Banking also showed excellent earnings growth with a pre-tax profit of CHF 1,095 million.
(Introduction of quarterly analysis to UBS financial reporting: These quarterly financial results provide for the first time analysis of the change in key metrics from the previous quarter, as well as comparing to the same quarter last year. Previously figures were always reported cumulatively through the year. To allow meaningful like-for-like comparisons, 1999 figures have been restated to reflect the business regrouping announced in February 2000.)
In February this year, UBS modernized its structure and regrouped its wealth management businesses. The new structure emphasizes agility, allowing UBS to respond rapidly to changing client demands. The regrouping provides a first-class platform for UBS's e-commerce-driven attack on the future. "The great significance of e-commerce to UBS is the opportunity it gives us to build sustainable revenues over the long term", stated Marcel Ospel, Group CEO. As a global integrated investment services firm, UBS has the size and expertise to exploit innovative channels and technologies to expand its client reach. Client appeal lies in easy-to-use, interactive access to professional advisory capabilities, content and personalized services. With planned investments of over CHF 2 billion between now and 2002, UBS is committed to remaining at the forefront of e-commerce.
UBS Switzerland will invest CHF 90-100 million annually over the next few years to extend its already impressive electronic banking and mobile banking initiatives. Since April 2000, a single unit has been responsible for handling all the business group's e-banking activities with its primary goal being to expand personalized e-banking services for private clients. UBS Warburg recently launched its pace-setting Web-based business-to-business solution IBOL (Investment Banking On-line). From the IBOL homepage, institutional and corporate clients can access all services and content electronically and link to execution capabilities across all product areas. UBS Warburg has always been a heavy investor in technology, and its investment in the business-to-business area will grow to around 4% of revenues. The business group will invest an additional CHF 310 million this year in its new pan-European multi-channel e-services initiative targeted at affluent individuals in Europe. The initiative centres around marketing a differentiated array of investment services, including products from third-party providers, linked with high-calibre investment advice, financial planning and asset allocation.
Listing on New York Stock Exchange: On 16 May, UBS listed its global registered share on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The listing gives UBS greater visibility to US investors and provides it with the strategic flexibility to benefit from expansion opportunities in the United States. UBS now has a global share traded in Zurich, New York and Tokyo. As the first Swiss company to list a global share in New York, UBS has contributed to a significant enhancement in clearing and settlement infrastructure, notably the creation of a link between the US and Swiss securities depositories to facilitate cross-border settlement.
Share buyback programme: In January 2000, UBS introduced a share buyback programme that will lead to the cancellation of shares. The shares are being bought back through a second trading line. The Annual General Meeting on 18 April 2000 approved the repurchase of shares up to a maximum amount of CHF 4 billion or 19,347,868 shares under this programme. These shares are therefore exempt from the statutory limit which prohibits companies from holding more than 10% of their own shares. As of 10 May, UBS had repurchased 15,762,212 of its own stocks through the second trading line.
UBS achieved an outstanding result in the first quarter. Past experience shows that the first quarter is often the strongest. However, assuming market conditions remain positive, UBS is confident that a strong performance relative to 1999 can be maintained.
Results of the business groups
UBS Switzerland combines affluent, retail and corporate clients business in Switzerland with private banking services for high net worth clients who bank in Switzerland or other offshore centres. The business group had an excellent quarter, reporting a pre-tax profit of CHF 1,587 million (+45% over first quarter 1999, +54% over fourth quarter 1999).
Private and Corporate Clients
The Private and Corporate Clients business unit performed strongly with a pre-tax profit of CHF 492 million (+51% compared to first quarter 1999, +36% compared to fourth quarter 1999). Operating income was CHF 1,690 million, up 10% compared to fourth quarter 1999, driven mainly by strong brokerage revenues in a good market environment. Total operating expenses increased only moderately to CHF 1,198 million. The pre-goodwill cost-income ratio improved from 67% in fourth quarter 1999 to 61%. Assets under management totalled CHF 443 billion. The growth of CHF 4 billion or 1% since year-end 1999 was driven by market performance.
During the quarter, UBS focused on pushing forward its alternativedistribution channels. By the end of March, approximately 480,000 customers had signed e-banking agreements. 40% of all payment orders and 16% of all stock-exchange transactions are now handled through electronic channels. Since the start of the year, functionality in electronic banking has been continuously expanded. During the first quarter, online access to financial information via WAP and a trading connection to XETRA (Exchange Electronic Trading of Deutsche Börse), the seventh stock exchange to be directly linked online, were successfully introduced. Since 15 May, UBS e-banking clients - using UBS MaX. - have been able to trade in all SMI stocks, UBS warrants on SMI shares and the SMI Index, as well as Swiss-franc bonds listed on the Swiss Exchange after regular trading hours, from Monday to Friday up to 10 p.m.
UBS Private Banking produced a record result with pre-tax profit of CHF 1,095 million (+42% compared to first quarter 1999, +63% compared to fourth quarter 1999). Operating income increased 28% compared to fourth quarter 1999 to CHF 1,826 million, driven mainly by asset growth in fourth quarter 1999 and strong client activity in favourable market conditions. Total operating expense declined 3% to CHF 731 million. The pre-goodwill cost-income ratio improved sharply from 52% in fourth quarter 1999 to 39%. Assets under management rose by 4% or CHF 27 billion to CHF 698 billion compared to year-end 1999, most of this growth being performance-driven. Net new money during the quarter amounted to CHF 2 billion compared to CHF 1 billion in fourth quarter 1999.
UBS Private Banking launched a number of new products and services such as Active Portfolio Supervision (APS), through which clients receive investment recommendations whenever their portfolio breaches specified parameters, and Active Portfolio Advisory (APA), which in addition provides direct access to a dedicated investment specialist and tailor-made strategies.
UBS Asset Management
UBS Asset Management, which comprises Institutional Asset Management, Investment Funds and Global Asset Management (GAM) acquired in 1999, reported a pre-tax profit of CHF 109 million, up 36% from first quarter 1999 but down 18% from the fourth quarter.
Institutional Asset Management
The Institutional Asset Management business unit earned a pre-tax profit of CHF 79 million (+20% compared to first quarter 1999, -16% compared to fourth quarter 1999). Pre-goodwill amortization earnings declined by only 2% versus fourth quarter 1999. Both operating income and operating expenses increased, primarily due to the acquisition of Allegis Realty Investors LLC. Total assets under management decreased by 3% to CHF 557 billion despite positive market performance, reflecting net new money losses of CHF 32 billion.
During the reporting period, UBS Asset Management launched a series of initiatives to broaden its global investment capabilities, including the creation of a common global investment management platform through the integration of Brinson Partners and Phillips & Drew. While price/value management remains its fundamental philosophy, UBS Asset Management is building on its existing real estate, fixed income and growth-equities capabilities.
The Investment Funds/GAM business units reported a pre-tax profit of CHF 30 million. The decrease of 23% compared with fourth quarter 1999 reflects higher goodwill amortization associated with the acquisition of GAM in late 1999. Aided by positive investment performance, assets under management rose by CHF 7 billion (+3%) to CHF 232 billion. Net new money was CHF 1 billion, driven by successful fund launches, including the UBS New Markets Equity Fund, the most successful UBS fund launch ever. GAM, which operates under its own established brand name, continued its record of excellent investment performance with the broad array of its funds performing better than their respective benchmarks.
UBS Asset Management is evolving towards open, multi-channel distribution. Initiatives include establishing third-party distribution partnerships, developing electronic sales channels and combining distribution efforts of Investment Funds and Institutional Asset Management in various markets. Additionally, in close cooperation with UBS Switzerland, UBS clients will be offered fund-based investment solutions combining UBS, GAM and third-party funds.
UBS Warburg, a leading global investment services provider which comprises four business units, achieved a record result with a pre-tax profit of CHF 1,319 million (+86% compared to first quarter 1999, +432% compared to fourth quarter 1999).
Corporate & Institutional Clients
The Corporate & Institutional Clients business unit, which provides securities and investment banking products and services, delivered a net profit before tax of CHF 1,445 million, up 100% from first quarter 1999. Aided by positive market conditions, Equities revenues were exceptionally strong. Fixed Income revenues were also very robust. Treasury Products revenues fell from their first-quarter 1999 level as a result of difficult trading conditions in foreign exchange. Corporate Finance revenues were ahead of first quarter 1999. UBS Warburg was involved in a broad range of major transactions, notably acting as joint advisor to Pacific Century CyberWorks (PCCW) in its announced acquisition of Hong Kong Telecom, the largest ever M&A transaction in Asia. Total personnel costs increased 49% compared to first quarter 1999, rising to CHF 2,761 million as a result of higher performance-related compensation.
The cost-income ratio showed a marked improvement compared to first quarter 1999, dropping from 75% to 69% before goodwill amortization and from 76% to 70% after goodwill. Market risk utilization, as measured by value-at-risk, increased from CHF 224 million at year-end to CHF 277 million, primarily as a result of increased activities in the Equities business. UBS Warburg continued to reduce its credit exposure through a selective reduction in lending. The business unit's credit portfolio at the end of March totalled CHF 72.0 billion, down from CHF 72.7 billion at the end of the year. At the end of the first quarter, 2.4% of the total loan book was classed as non-performing compared with 2.2% at year-end 1999.
UBS Warburg has developed leading e-commerce solutions in the business-to-business area, a number of which were introduced in the first quarter. 25% of all bond new issue volume is delivered online using the electronic DebtWeb tool launched in January 2000. DealKey launched in March delivers online marketing materials, including video road shows, for all equity and equity-linked new issues involving UBS Warburg. Both DebtWeb and DealKey are integrated in the recently launched business-to-business portal IBOL.
UBS Capital, which specializes in private equity investment, reported a pre-tax profit of CHF 114 million compared to CHF 18 million in fourth quarter 1999, reflecting a higher level of divestments. The book value of the portfolio was CHF 3.4 billion at the end of the first quarter compared to CHF 3.0 billion at year-end 1999. This growth represented both successful expansion and diversification.
The Private Clients business unit recorded a net loss before tax of CHF 177 million, due to significant start-up investment in developing onshore private banking outside Switzerland and including a substantial provision relating to rationalization efforts. Assets under management rose 11% to CHF 40 billion, mainly due to CHF 4 billion in net new money. Integration within UBS Warburg and the resulting synergies create new opportunities for the onshore private-banking business to develop an innovative product offering while building long-term relationships with the high net worth, executive and entrepreneur client base. During 2000, Private Clients will focus on those markets where the near to medium-term opportunities are strongest, adjusting investment levels where necessary.
The pan-European e-services initiative targeting affluent individuals is scheduled for launch in Germany in the autumn. Non-personnel expenses, including goodwill amortization, were CHF 26 million, primarily due to substantial investments in infrastructure and product offering. Personnel costs for the business unit, which was established in third quarter 1999, were CHF 37 million compared to CHF 14 million at year-end 1999. Total headcount rose from 70 to 131 during first quarter 2000. The development of the technology platform is already complete, and the software applications have been successfully installed.
Results from the Group financial accounts
Total operating income was up 37% over first quarter 1999 to CHF 9,357 million, while total operating expenses were 34% higher at CHF 6,449 million.
Net interest income increased to CHF 2,089 million (+52%), fuelled mainly by growth in interest and dividend income from the trading portfolio. Aggregate credit loss expense was CHF 125 million after CHF 310 million in first quarter 1999. The quality of the loan portfolio reflects the improved Swiss and global macro-economic environment. At the end of March 2000, non-performing loans stood at CHF 12.7 billion, down from CHF 13.1 billion at year-end 1999.
Net fee and commission income at CHF 4,079 million was up 38% over first quarter 1999. Significant growth in investment fund fees was primarily driven by higher volumes and the recent acquisition of GAM. Brokerage fees performed well, rising strongly compared to first quarter 1999 on the back of high volumes in Switzerland, the UK, the US and Asia. Underwriting and corporate finance fees were down on their exceptionally robust fourth quarter 1999 performance, but were higher compared to first quarter 1999.
Net trading income was CHF 2,978 million, compared to CHF 2,333 million for first quarter 1999. Equity trading in particular benefited from higher customer volume-driven revenues.
Other income increased by 51% over first quarter 1999 to CHF 334 million, mainly as a result of higher gains from private equity divestments.
Personnel expenses at CHF 4,522 million were up 37% compared to first quarter 1999. The increase is mainly due to performance-related compensation in line with the exceptionally good results. Headcount within the Group dropped by 901 to 48,157 during the quarter, chiefly due to merger-related reductions within the Private and Corporate Clients business unit and the deconsolidation of Systor AG.
General and administrative expenses increased 25% compared to first quarter 1999 to total CHF 1,431 million. The growth was chiefly due to foreign exchange effects and heavier IT expense. Compared to fourth quarter 1999 and excluding the impact of the provision for the class-action settlement in the United States (CHF 154 million) made in that period, the additional restructuring provision (CHF 300 million) and the full-year consolidation of Klinik Hirslanden, general and administrative expenses fell 19%. Depreciation and amortization increased 30% to CHF 496 million compared to first quarter 1999, principally due to the amortization of goodwill resulting from the acquisition of GAM and Allegis.
Status of the restructuring provision
Of the CHF 7.3 billion merger-related restructuring provision, a total of CHF 5,989 million has been utilized since the beginning of 1998. CHF 118 million of this amount was drawn in first quarter 2000 to cover costs relating to premises, personnel and IT integration.
Zurich/Basel, 25 May 2000