UBS Profits Rise 7% on Strong Wealth Results: Q1 Earnings

Advisors in the Americas have average yearly fees and commissions of $1.04 million

UBS headquarters in Zurich. (Photo: AP) UBS headquarters in Zurich. (Photo: AP)

UBS said Tuesday that its first-quarter profits improved about 7%. It had net income of 1.05 billion Swiss francs, or about $1.2 billion, versus 988 million francs a year ago, beating estimates.

The company’s revenue in Q1 was about $7.23 billion, a drop of roughly 7% from last year, though it had net-new-money inflows of 12.8 billion Swiss francs into its wealth management units.

“I’m pleased with the first quarter as we demonstrated sustainable profitability across all business divisions and regions,” said Group CEO Sergio Ermotti, in a press release. “Dedicated and disciplined execution of our strategy for the benefit of clients and shareholders remains our top priority.”

Wealth Management Americas had a pretax profit of $272 million, up 7% from the prior period and 30% year over year; after adjustments, the pretax profit for Q1’14 was $284 million; expenses declined roughly 1% year over year.

Revenue for the U.S.-based unit was about 1.66 billion Swiss francs, down slightly from 1.67 billion a year ago.

Net new money during the most-recent period was $2.1 billion vs. $4.9 billion last year, “mostly due to lower flows from net recruited FAs,” Group CFO & COO Thomas Naratil told analysts on a conference call transcribed by Seeking Alpha. Net new money from veteran advisors, though, increased quarter over quarter.

“Our FAs continue to be highly productive, maintaining revenue per FA of greater than $1 million annualized and record invested assets per FA of $139 million,” Naratil added.

Other results for the unit are as follows:

  • Invested assets stand at $987 billion overall, up from $970 billion in Q4’13 and up 11% from $891 billion in Q1’13.
  • In U.S. dollars, operating income was $1.87 billion, up 1% compared to $1.85 billion in 4’13 and up 10% from $1.70 billion in Q1’13.
  • Net new money of $2.1 billion marked the 15th straight quarter of positive net inflows.
  • Invested assets per financial advisor increased to $139 million, up 2% from $136 million in Q4’13 and up 10% from $126 million in Q1’13.
  • Annualized revenue per financial advisor is roughly $1,037,000 vs. $1,042,000 in Q4’13 but up 8% from $961,000 in Q1’13.
  • Financial advisor headcount is 7,113, down slightly from 7,137 in Q4’13 and up 1% from 7,065 in Q1’13.

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