Zurich, 19 May 2021 –Julius Baer’s profitability rose significantly in the first four months of 2021 on the back of strong growth in client assets and a solid gross margin development. These positive effects were complemented by the absence of credit losses and a further improvement in cost efficiency. While the new share buy-back programme was launched at the start of March 2021, Julius Baer’s robust capital position strengthened further. The Group remains on track to deliver on the targets of the three-year revenue and cost-improvement plan started last year.
Strong growth in assets under management
Assets under management (AuM) rose to CHF 470 billion at the end of April 2021, a year-to-date increase of 8%. The increase was driven by continued net new money inflows (4% annualised), positive stock market performance, and the softening of the Swiss franc ‒ particularly against the US dollar, euro, and British pound.
Solid gross margin development
A supportive market environment and dynamic client engagement underpinned activity-driven income, as reflected in brokerage commissions and net income from financial instruments. In combination with a modestly higher contribution from recurring fee income, a marginally lower contribution from net interest income (as growth in credit lagged the growth in AuM), and no net credit impairment losses, this led to a gross margin of close to 90 basis points (bp), up from 84 bp in the second half of 2020.
While client activity remained elevated throughout the first quarter, it slowed down to more subdued levels in April.
Further improvement in cost efficiency
The expense development in the first four months of 2021 benefitted from the effects of the measures taken last year under the CHF 200 million gross cost-reduction programme announced in February 2020. Together with the concurrent robust revenue development, this resulted in an adjusted cost/income ratio of around 60% (improved from 66% in the second half of 2020) and an adjusted pre-tax margin of 36 bp (up from 24 bp in the second half of 2020).
Capital position further strengthened
At the end of April 2021, the Group’s BIS CET1 capital ratio had risen to 16.6% (end 2020: 14.9%) and the BIS total capital ratio to 22.7% (end 2020: 21.0%), thus well above the Group’s own floors of 11% and 15% respectively, and significantly in excess of the regulatory requirements of 7.9% and 12.1% respectively.
On 2 March 2021, Julius Baer launched a new 12-month programme to buy back up to CHF 450 million purchase value of Julius Baer Group Ltd. shares. By the end of April, a total of 1,188,000 shares had been repurchased at an aggregate cost of CHF 70 million.
* Based on unaudited management accounts. This media release contains certain financial measures that are not defined or specified by IFRS, the definitions of which are provided in the Alternative Performance Measures document available at www.juliusbaer.com/APM.
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