Annual General Meeting of UBS AG
At the Annual General Meeting held on April 18, 2007, the shareholders of UBS approved the dividend of CHF 2.20 per share proposed by the Board of Directors. They also elected a new member - Sergio Marchionne - to the Board of Directors and re-elected Stephan Haeringer, Helmut Panke and Peter Spuhler to their respective offices for another three years. UBS shareholders approved the creation of conditional capital. The Annual General Meeting was attended by 2536 shareholders, representing 566,990,810 votes.
At the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on April 18, 2007, the shareholders of UBS AG approved the Annual Report and Group Financial Statements for 2006 and granted discharge to the members of the Board of Directors and Group Executive Board.
Elections to the Board of Directors
The 2007 AGM marked the end of Sir Peter Davis's term of office as a member of the Board of Directors. He has held the post since 2001, and is relinquishing it after having reached the maximum age limit.
The AGM elected Sergio Marchionne to the Board of Directors for a three-year term. Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer von Fiat S.p.A., Torino, becomes a nonexecutive member.
Stephan Haeringer was re-elected for a further three-year term as an executive member of the Board of Directors. The directorial mandates of Helmut Panke, holder of several board memberships, including as a member of the Board of Directors of Microsoft Corporation, and Peter Spuhler, owner of Stadler Rail AG (Switzerland), were also confirmed for a further three-year term.
Dividend of CHF 2.20
UBS shareholders approved the dividend of CHF 2.20 per share proposed for the 2006 financial year. The 38% year-on-year increase reflects the good results for 2006 and the bank's policy of returning cash not needed for operations to shareholders in the form of dividends and via buybacks of shares for cancellation.
The dividend will be distributed on April 23 to all shareholders holding shares on April 18. Starting April 19, UBS shares will be traded ex-dividend.
Share capital reduction, new buyback program
As part of the 2006/2007 share buyback program, UBS bought back a total of 33,020,000 shares, worth some CHF 2.4 billion, via a second trading line on the SWX Swiss Exchange. The AGM approved the definitive cancellation of these shares and the corresponding reduction in share capital.
It also agreed to a new buyback program for 2007-2010, again with a view to reducing share capital. The program will permit maximum flexibility with respect to capital management, although the Board of Directors continues to have no intention of deviating from the goal of a high capitalization of UBS. How much of the maximum approved sum of 10% of the share capital will be used will depend on how much free capital is used for investments to support the growth of the bank's core businesses. The shareholders shall decide on the definitive cancellation of the shares purchased pursuant to the buyback program at the respective Annual General Meetings of 2008-2010.
UBS - successful in a dynamic environment
In his address, Chairman of the Board Marcel Ospel talked about the rapid change of the business and social environment over the past few years. A few decades ago, economic processes were largely local. Now they span the entire globe, he said. Financial flows have developed in step with the real economy. The opening up of national financial markets has ensured that more and more liquidity is made available at an ever increasing rate of speed for an ever increasing number of international transactions.
According to the Chairman, today the benefits of such vigorous activity are no longer confined to the industrialized countries but are being felt by a growing share of the world's population. Emerging markets in Asia, Eastern Europe and South America - home to approximately 40 percent of the world's population - are seeing annual growth rates of between four and ten percent.
As Ospel explained, UBS spotted these global trends early on, and prepared itself with a smart expansion strategy. Last year, the company was once again able to significantly expand its presence in these emerging markets. The Chairman mentioned, among other things, the acquisition of Brazil's Banco Pactual, which established a strong base for UBS's wealth management and investment banking in South America.
In China, UBS is the first foreign firm to invest directly in a Chinese securities house with a comprehensive range of services, and to take control of management. As a further example, Ospel mentioned the acquisition of Standard Chartered's fund business in India, which has given UBS an entry point to an extremely attractive growth market.
Ospel looked back at last year's record result with pride. But he said that management was aware of the fact that global economic growth is not having a solely positive impact. UBS is therefore prepared to live up to its responsibilities as a global group and to do its share toward helping solve pressing social issues.
The Chairman mentioned UBS's climate policy and the decision of management to reduce by 2012 the group's world-wide carbon emissions by 40% compared with the level for 2004. To this end, UBS has offset all CO2 emissions caused by the business-related air travel of its staff for the first time last year.
Rigorously implementing the growth strategy
In his speech, Group CEO Peter Wuffli gave some background concerning the bank's business success and commented on some of its key figures. Record earnings and the progress UBS has made toward reaching its targets are certainly very satisfying, Wuffli said. But more important from the point of view of management are the strategic steps that UBS took last year to develop and expand its business on the basis of its growth targets.
According to the Group CEO, all business groups in all major regions of the world have shown considerable growth momentum. This resulted in an increase of 8,500 employees to a total headcount of more than 80,000 in the past year. About 80% of headcount growth came via organic initiatives and only 20% via takeovers.
Wuffli was particularly pleased with UBS's success in the emerging markets, the favorable development of its wealth management initiatives in the European domestic market and the fact that the firm is now one of the leading wealth managers in the United States.
The investment bank, too, continued to invest vigorously in the expansion of its service offering. It is also making major investments in information technology in order to enhance capacities, boost efficiency and streamline its technical infrastructure, Wuffli said. He also mentioned the positive development of UBS's institutional asset management business. With improved cost efficiency, this business has more than tripled its pre-tax income in the last five years and more than doubled its net new money over the same period.
The Group CEO made clear that UBS will maintain its successful growth strategy going forward. Priority will be placed primarily on implementing and integrating the firms and business activities acquired last year and less on new growth initiatives and takeovers.
Zurich, April 18, 2007