ZURICH, Switzerland–Switzerland’s biggest bank UBS Tuesday reported an 88 percent surge in first quarter profits, despite a strong franc, outstripping analysts’ forecasts. Profits soared to 1.9 billion Swiss francs (US$2 billion) from 1.05 billion Swiss francs in the previous year as its wealth management business raked in the biggest profit since the global economic crisis struck in 2008. The results were far higher than the 1.1 billion Swiss francs forecast by analysts polled by Swiss financial agency AWS. Operating revenues, equal to turnover, climbed 22 percent to 8.8 billion Swiss francs, the bank said in a statement. The wealth management business posted an operating pre-tax profit of 951 million francs while the wealth management Americas division earned 253 million Swiss francs. The combined figure was the highest level since 2008. ��I’m pleased with the strong quarter,�� said UBS chief executive Sergio Ernotti.
��The results again demonstrate the benefits of a strategy defined early and executed with a focus on long-term value creation.�� The investment bank posted a pre-tax profit of 774 million Swiss francs against 425 million in the previous year, boosted by high market volatility which increased earnings from foreign exchange, rates and credit and global financing services. UBS said it had taken measures to adapt its wealth management rates, taking into account negative interest rates in Switzerland and some other European countries.