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Business Group Results
Wealth Management & Business Banking
Wealth Management's full-year 2003 pre-tax profit, at CHF 2,609 million, increased 4% from 2002, mainly due to the recovery in financial markets which resulted in higher recurring asset-based fees during the second half of the year. Net new money inflows for the year totaled CHF 29.7 billion, up 68% from the 2002 result, driven by particularly strong inflows into the European wealth management business and from Asian clients.
In fourth quarter 2003, profit before tax stood at CHF 705 million. This 1% decline from third quarter reflected a drop in fee income on seasonally low transaction volumes and the negative impact of the US dollar's fall against the Swiss franc. These factors were only partially offset by lower personnel expenses. The business unit's cost/income ratio increased by 1 percentage point to 60%.
Business Banking Switzerland reported a pre-tax profit of CHF 2,153 million for full-year 2003. This 9% increase on the 2002 result was achieved despite the difficult market conditions at the outset of the year. The improvement reflects both continued tight management of the cost base and the structural improvement in the domestic loan portfolio in recent years.
Fourth quarter pre-tax profit was CHF 547 million, up by 4% from third quarter, mainly due to lower expected credit loss expense and a drop in performance-related compensation following the determination of bonuses in fourth quarter.
Global Asset Management
Global Asset Management reported a pre-tax profit of CHF 332 million for full-year 2003, up 52% from the 2002 result. The equity market recovery in the second half of the year, coupled with strong inflows into alternative investments, equities and fixed income mandates, resulted in higher invested asset levels and, consequently, increased asset-based revenues. Performance-related fees, especially in the alternative and quantitative business, grew significantly over 2002. Ongoing cost control initiatives reduced operating expenses, further underpinning profitability.
For full-year 2003, net new money inflows in the institutional business stood at CHF 12.7 billion, improving significantly from the outflows of CHF 1.4 billion recorded in 2002. The wholesale intermediary fund business reported a net new money outflow of CHF 5.0 billion in 2003 (compared with an outflow of CHF 6.3 billion in 2002). The net outflow in 2003 was entirely attributable to outflows in money market funds related to the launch of UBS Bank USA. Before the bank's launch in third quarter 2003, private-client cash balances in the US were swept into money market funds. Now they are redirected automatically into FDIC-insured deposit accounts.
In fourth quarter 2003, Global Asset Management's pre-tax profit was CHF 112 million, up 29% from third quarter. A fall in performance-related fees was more than offset by lower incentive-based compensation and general administrative expenses.
The Investment Banking & Securities business unit recorded a pre-tax profit of CHF 4,078 million in full-year 2003. This 30% increase from 2002 reflects strong performance in all our businesses. In particular, the Fixed Income, Rates and Currencies business posted a record result, reflecting the breadth of its capabilities and the expansion of its franchise. At the same time, costs remained under control. In full-year 2003, the compensation ratio fell to 51% from 55% in 2002. Annual performance-related payments are driven by the revenue mix across business areas and are managed in line with market levels.
Pre-tax profit in fourth quarter 2003 stood at CHF 1,153 million, up 122% from the same period last year and 19% higher than in third quarter 2003. This represented the best quarterly result since first quarter 2001. Revenues increased by 22% from fourth quarter 2002. Performance was strong in all business areas. Revenues from the Fixed Income, Rates and Currencies business were 32% higher than in fourth quarter 2002. In the Equities business, income increased 17% on strong primary revenues. At the same time, improved revenues from client trading commissions and equity finance more than offset adverse currency movements. In Investment Banking, revenues rose 15%, reflecting competitive gains that lifted global market share to 5.6% from 4.6%. Moreover, UBS advanced to fourth place in 2003 from seventh a year earlier in Freeman's investment banking fee rankings.
Operating expenses in fourth quarter 2003 remained largely unchanged from the same quarter a year earlier, as a revenue-driven increase in personnel expenses largely offset the impact of currency movements. The cost/income ratio was 66% in fourth quarter 2003. Excluding goodwill amortization, it fell to 64% from the 78% reported in fourth quarter 2002. This reflects the sharp downward correction of the compensation ratio reflecting the final determination of bonuses.
Private Equity recorded a pre-tax loss of CHF 189 million in full-year 2003. The marked improvement on the pre-tax loss of CHF 1,761 million in 2002 reflects much lower levels of writedowns and a number of successful exits in 2003.
For fourth quarter 2003, the unit reported a pre-tax profit of CHF 60 million, attributable to the realization of capital gains on successful exits.
Wealth Management USA
The Wealth Management USA business was well positioned to benefit from the improvement in investor sentiment and market conditions in 2003. Net new money inflows of CHF 21.1 billion over the year reflected the strong appeal of its advice and services. In US dollar terms, this represents a 14% increase over the net new money attracted in 2002.
Including acquisition costs (goodwill amortization, net goodwill funding and retention payments), the Business Group reported a pre-tax loss of CHF 5 million in full-year 2003 compared to a loss of CHF 1,800 million in 2002. Excluding significant financial events**** and before acquisition costs, operational performance showed a profit of CHF 664 million in 2003, compared to CHF 632 million in 2002.
In fourth quarter 2003, Wealth Management USA reported a pre-tax loss of CHF 10 million. Before acquisition costs, and excluding significant financial events, pre-tax profit increased 6% from third quarter to CHF 181 million. On the same basis, but in US dollars, the operating result was 12% higher than in third quarter, reflecting a record level of recurring fees and higher net interest and transactional revenues, as well as increased municipal securities revenues.