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The Euromoney 25

UBS: Star performer poorly marked

Earnings were positive in 2017, but it's a shame about the share price

Since the financial crisis, UBS has been the oft-cited poster child for how to turn a business around and create a sustainable franchise in modern banking. But in 2016 the Swiss bank arguably became a victim of its own success – its performance was safe, steady, still at the head of the industry by many metrics. But UBS became, dare we say it, a little boring.

As chief executive Sergio Ermotti has pointed out to Euromoney, there is something rather positive about being considered boring in modern finance. It speaks to stability and the benefits of balance and diversification. But 2016 was still a disappointing year for UBS, hampered by the downturn in Asian markets and the importance of US markets where, wealth management aside, it is not so relevant. 

On the flipside, the markets were much more to UBS’s liking in 2017, and all of a sudden, its performance became rather interesting and, dare we say it, exciting again. 

“International clients became more positive again, we saw growth in transaction revenues, better trading performance and a big rebound in our CCS [Corporate Client Solutions] business,” says Kirt Gardner, chief financial officer of UBS.

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