UBS forecasts third quarter profit

Banking giant UBS said today that it no longer expects to report a loss in the third quarter despite the $2.3bn (£1.5bn) hole left by alleged rogue trading.

The Swiss bank also said it is set to report revenues in its wealth management arm at similar levels to the second quarter in a sign that investors have not pulled cash out of UBS in the wake of the scandal.

The resilient trading update comes after UBS chief executive Oswald Gruebel took responsibility for the massive losses and resigned.

However, the Zurich-based bank said profit in the period was driven by "credit gains on financial liabilities" worth £1.1bn - an indication that investors' confidence in banks is actually falling.

Former UBS trader Kweku Adoboli, 31, was last month charged with committing false accounting and fraud during his time at the bank's London offices. He is yet to enter a plea against the charges.

UBS, which employs 6,000 UK staff, revealed the unauthorised trading incident on September 15, and said at the time it could have tipped them to a third quarter loss.

But the bank said net profit attributable to shareholders - earnings after costs including tax are deducted - in the three months to September would include the £1.5bn loss.

While net money inflows have not fallen in the quarter, the boost from credit gains on financial liabilities shows conditions in financial markets have become more stressed and the price of debt issued by banks has fallen. Banks make a larger profit when the price of debt falls.

However, UBS also warned its cash buffer - the so-called Tier 1 capital ratio in place to protect against future crises - would be dented by the unauthorised trading incident.

Elsewhere, the bank said it had also taken into account £400m of restructuring charges associated with UBS's cost-cutting plans which have included reducing its headcount by 3,500.

UBS said the majority of affected employees have been notified though reductions will continue into 2012.

Adoboli, from Clark Street, east London, was remanded in custody when he last appeared at City of London Magistrates' Court and will next appear on October 20.

The primary fraud offence allegedly took place between January 1 and September 14 this year, while the two accusations of false accounting date back to 2008.

UBS Europe chief Sergio Ermotti took over as interim chief executive after Mr Gruebel resigned.


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