By Margot Patrick 

UBS Group AG said it set aside $1.5 billion to repurchase shares next year as third-quarter net profit doubled and its loan losses from the coronavirus pandemic remained relatively low.

Net profit rose to nearly $2.1 billion from $1.05 billion a year earlier, thanks mainly to a surge in stock and bond trading and deal making by clients at its investment bank and higher revenue at its wealth management business. Loan losses in the period were $89 million, lower than the $268 million and $272 million provisions taken in the first and second quarters.

UBS and other banks with wealth management arms have been benefiting this year from more client investing and a boost in total global wealth as asset prices have rebounded from the spring. Its investment bank, like others, has also made money from ramped-up client trading and deal making.

Investment bank revenue jumped to $2.49 billion from $1.75 billion a year earlier, while global wealth management revenue rose to $4.28 billion from $4.14 billion.

The results are the last by UBS under Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti, who leaves the job this month after nine years to become chairman at Swiss Re. Under his tenure, UBS downsized its investment bank and refocused around wealth management, in what has been regarded as a largely successful reinvention of the bank.

Ralph Hamers, formerly the CEO of ING Groep NV, started at UBS in September and begins as CEO Nov. 1. Mr. Ermotti on Tuesday said UBS has "all the options open" for more success under Mr. Hamers.

The Swiss banking giant said it would pay a delayed dividend installment from 2019, as planned, after a shareholder meeting next month. It and other Swiss banks were asked by regulators to delay 2019 payouts earlier this year. Other European banks are still waiting for the go ahead from regulators to start paying dividends again.

UBS said the pandemic has been changing the way clients interact with the bank, bringing more of them online through mobile banking applications and other platforms. Its wealthy customers have also been on an "intensified search for returns," UBS said in a presentation, including by increasing their investments in private markets, an area that includes buying stock and lending money to companies that aren't publicly traded.

Write to Margot Patrick at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 20, 2020 02:28 ET (06:28 GMT)

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