What's going on?
UBS – the world’s biggest wealth manager – announced better-than-expected third-quarter earnings on Tuesday, and it tried to lure in investors with a little somethin’ extra too…
What does this mean?
UBS’s profits increased by a massive 99% compared to the same time last year, and there were a couple of reasons why. For one thing, its trading business – which earns a commission whenever an investor chops and changes their portfolio – got a boost as pandemic-driven uncertainty continued to rock the markets. And for another, its wealth management business – which looks after money for the rich and charges fees for the privilege – saw a lot of new cash coming in, particularly from Asia.
Why should I care?
For markets: Stay focused.
UBS’s results are the first of the European banks’ to arrive, and they tally with the improvements analysts are expecting to see across the board. That optimism might be because Europe’s banks aren’t topping up their cash piles to cover unpaid debts like they used to, but who knows how long it’ll last: a future of rising coronavirus cases is an uncertain future indeed.
The bigger picture: Swiss temptation.
UBS also set aside $1.5 billion to buy back its shares starting next year, which should mean there are fewer to go round and in turn push its stock higher (tweet this). It’s planning to pay the dividend it delayed a few months ago too. It needs to get the okay from regulators first, mind you: banks were told back in March to stop payouts altogether, in hopes they’d be better placed to outlast the pandemic.