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Julius Baer posts 55% profit rise for 2021

Randy Mancini 28 Feb 2
The logo of Swiss private bank Julius Baer is seen in Zurich
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss private bank Julius Baer is seen at their headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland February 1, 2021. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

February 2, 2022

By Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi

ZURICH (Reuters) -Julius Baer posted a 55% rise in 2021 net profit, as strong markets and a rise in fees it gets from managing cash for rich clients helped the Swiss bank beat the billion-franc mark on its bottom line for the first time.

Net profit for the year rose to 1.083 billion Swiss francs ($1.18 billion) from 699 million francs in 2000, it said on Wednesday.

Switzerland’s third-largest listed bank proposed raising its dividend to 2.60 francs per share from the 1.75 francs it paid out for 2020. It also announced a new share buy-back programme of up to 400 million francs.

“We are pleased to report the highest profit in our history,” Chief Executive Philipp Rickenbacher said in a statement.

“The quality of our financial performance is the result of the strategic agenda we initiated in 2020, with a shift to smart and profitable asset growth, a sharpening of our value proposition, and an acceleration of our investments in technology.”

Wealth managers saw a boon from the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, as they benefitted from bumper client activity levels and amassed fewer risks of loan losses than their high street peers.

That activity continued in the first half of 2021, when the Zurich-based wealth manager posted https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/wealth/julius-baer-reports-234-h1-net-profit-rise-2021-07-21 a 23.4% boost to six month net profit, although there was a slowdown in the second half of the year.

Additional documents provided by Baer on Wednesday showed client inflows had also eased slightly in the second half of 2021 while, on an adjusted basis, net profit for the half-year stood at 507 million francs, down from 636 million francs in the first six months.

The bank also posted 19.6 billion francs in fresh client inflows for 2021, a growth rate of 4.5% and well above previous year. Combined with higher asset prices, that helped push the lender’s managed assets up 11% to a record 482 billion Swiss francs.

($1 = 0.9209 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi, editing by John Revill)