Our strategy

We are committed to providing our clients with superior financial advice and solutions while generating attractive and sustainable returns for shareholders. Our strategy centers on our leading wealth management businesses and our premier universal bank in Switzerland, enhanced by our strong asset manager and investment bank. These businesses share three key characteristics: they benefit from a strong competitive position in their targeted markets, are capital-efficient, and offer a superior structural growth and profitability outlook. Our strategy builds on the strengths of all of our businesses and focuses our efforts on areas in which we excel, while seeking to capitalize on the compelling growth prospects in the businesses and regions in which we operate. Capital strength is the foundation of our success.

Our strategic transformation

In 2011, we laid out three critical objectives for UBS: executing our strategy, delivering for our clients and unlocking our growth potential. We accelerated the execution of our strategy in 2012 and have since made substantial progress focusing our activities on a set of highly synergistic, less capital and balance sheet-intensive businesses dedicated to serving clients and well-positioned to maximize value for shareholders. We have reached our targeted Basel III CET1 capital ratio of 13%, significantly reduced risk-weighted assets and costs, while simultaneously growing our business and enhancing our competitive positioning. We have successfully grown our unrivaled global wealth management businesses and transformed our Investment Bank to focus on its traditional strengths in advisory, research, equities, foreign exchange and precious metals. By the end of 2014, we completed our strategic transformation. Through the continued successful execution of our strategy, we believe we can sustain and grow our business and maintain a prudent capital position. While our strategy remains unchanged, in light of actual and forecasted changes in macroeconomic conditions and the announcement of a newly proposed too big to fail regulation, we have amended certain external performance targets and expectations for the Group and the business divisions for 2016 and future years, which are outlined on page 11 of our report for the third quarter of 2015.
Continuously improving effectiveness and efficiency is a key priority for us. We remain fully committed to our cost reduction target of CHF 2.1 billion and we made good progress in the third quarter of 2015, while continuing to carry significant regulatory costs.

Delivering attractive shareholder returns 

We are committed to delivering sustainable performance and attractive returns to shareholders. We have delivered progressive capital returns in 2011, 2012 and 2013. In 2014, we achieved our capital ratio target of a fully applied CET1 capital ratio of at least 13% and met our objective of maintaining a post-stress fully applied CET1 capital ratio of at least 10%. In 2014 we distributed a dividend of CHF 0.50 per share for the financial year 2014 and, following the completion of the squeeze-out of minority shareholders of UBS AG, a supplementary dividend of CHF 0.25 per share. Subject to maintaining our CET1 capital ratio target and our objective for the post-stress CET1 capital ratio, we are targeting a total payout ratio of at least 50% of net profit attributable to UBS shareholders. To find out more about our strategy for UBS Group and our business divisions, please see pages 39-40 of our Annual Report 2014. To find out more about our annual performance targets and key expectations, please see pages 10-11 of our report for the third quarter of 2015.

UBS's capital position

Since 2011, capital strength has been the foundation of our strategy. In the meantime we have almost halved our risk-weighted assets and significantly reduced the size of our balance sheet. UBS remains the best-capitalized large global bank, with a fully applied Swiss SRB Basel III CET1 capital ratio of 14.3% as of 30 September 2015, above our target of at least 13%, and operates a strong, successful and highly capital generative business. In addition, we have heavily invested in and implemented significant steps to improve the resolvability of the Group by changing our legal structure, business model and risk profile.
On 21 October 2015, the Swiss Federal Council proposed stricter capital rules for global systemically important banks, making the Swiss regime by far the most demanding in the world on a relative basis. The Swiss government's proposal sets out a targeted leverage ratio of 5% to qualify as well capitalized including at least 3.5% CET1 and up to 1.5% high-trigger AT1 capital. UBS intends to meet the newly proposed CET1 leverage ratio requirement of 3.5% by retaining sufficient earnings, while maintaining its commitment to a capital return payout ratio of at least 50% of net profit, subject to maintaining a fully applied Basel III CET1 ratio of at least 13% and 10% post-stress. UBS plans to continue its issuance of AT1 instruments and TLAC-eligible senior debt to meet the new requirement without the need to increase the Group's overall funding level. We will become compliant with the newly proposed rules at inception and intend to use the four-year phase-in period to fully implement the new requirements. To mitigate the additional substantial costs associated with the requirements to hold higher levels of equity and TLAC-eligible debt, we will continue to seek opportunities to reduce costs, to optimize our balance sheet and to reflect the increased cost of capital in our pricing of products and services.