Julius Bär expects resolution to US woes

Swiss private bank Julius Bär said on Monday it was confident of a mutually satisfactory resolution to an ongoing United States tax probe just days after privately-held local rival Wegelin was indicted by the American authorities.

This content was published on February 6, 2012 - 09:51 and agencies

"We've taken an early, proactive approach with the US, taken measures including the US exit in 2009 at our own decision, and have an ongoing constructive dialogue," Julius Bär Chief Executive Boris Collardi told journalists.

The US issue has burdened the bank for months, as American officials ratchet up the pressure on Swiss private banks who catered to wealthy Americans with hidden offshore accounts.

The pressure culminated in the indictment of Switzerland's oldest private bank, Wegelin, last week, which had sold its non-US assets to the Raiffeisen banking group shortly before.

Julius Bär reported a drop in full-year net profit last year to SFr258 million ($280 million), down 27 per cent from a year earlier as restructuring and other expenses weighed.

Clients added SFr10 billion in net new money in 2011, ahead of expectations, while assets under management remained steady at SFr170 billion.

Julius Bär also cut profit margin goals and hiked its cost-income ratio target as higher operating expenses dragged on profitability.

After paying 2011 dividends and buying back shares, the bank still has roughly SFr900 million ($979.27 million) in excess capital, financial head Dieter Enkelmann said. The bank launched a new buyback of up to SFr500 million on Monday.

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