UBS reported a first-quarter profit of roughly $2.9 billion, topping analysts’ expectations and giving the Swiss-based investment bank its best results in nearly three years vs. a loss of about $2.6 billion in the same year-ago period.
In the quarter ended March 31, UBS’ Wealth Management Americas division has a pre-tax profit of 15 million Swiss franc vs. a pre-tax loss of 35 million Swiss francs in the first quarter of 2009.
The number of UBS financial advisors in the Americas, however, fell by 217, or 3%, to 6,867 in the first quarter of 2010 vs. 7,084 in the fourth quarter of 2009 “as a result of voluntary departures and limited recruiting.”
A year before, UBS had about 8,760 financial advisors. Thus, it is down nearly 1,900 FAs, or about 22 percent, from a year ago – meaning that it has lost more than one in five advisors.
Client assets stand at 768 billion Swiss francs or 112 million Swiss francs per FA – or about $101 million per FA in U.S. dollars. This is up from 711 billion Swiss francs a year ago and 737 billion Swiss francs in the fourth quarter of 2009.
In its first quarter, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch said its 15,005 advisors had total client assets of nearly $1.45 billion or $96.6 million per FA. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, with 18,140 advisors, had $1.6 trillion in AUM, representing an average of $88 million per advisor.