* Q1 net profit 1.3 bln Sfr vs 919 mln Reuters poll avg
* CET1 ratio 14.1 pct in Q1 vs 13.8 pct at end-2016
* Says macroeconomic uncertainty, geopolitical risks remain
By Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi and Joshua Franklin
ZURICH, April 28 Swiss bank UBS kicked
off 2017 with its second-best start to a year since the
financial crisis as a brighter outlook and a spike in trading
levels boosted its investment bank and core wealth management
Switzerland's biggest bank and the world's largest wealth
manager said on Friday net profit for the first three months of
2017 rose 79 percent to 1.3 billion Swiss francs ($1.3 billion),
overshooting even the most optimistic estimate in a Reuters
"While the global recovery is likely to continue,
macroeconomic uncertainty, geopolitical tensions and divisive
politics pose risks that may affect client sentiment and
transaction volumes," UBS said in a statement.
Net new money, an important indicator for future revenue in
private banking, came in at 18.6 billion francs at UBS Wealth
Management and $1.9 billion at Wealth Management Americas.
Rising interest rates, a booming stock market and improved
investor sentiment boosted the group's U.S. business, while
improving Asian markets saw clients in Asia Pacific begin taking
more risks after a slowdown in late 2015 blunted trading
UBS had said it hoped optimism surrounding new U.S.
President Donald Trump's proposed policies would boost its core
wealth management business.
That optimism -- communicated just seven days after Trump
took office in January -- paid off in the first quarter, as
Wealth Management Americas saw a 10 percent rise in
At its wealth management unit outside North America --
traditionally more profitable but facing greater pressure from
negative and low interest rates -- a rebound in trading
generated record revenues and profit before tax in Asia Pacific.
The bank confirmed its target of cutting costs by 2.1
billion Swiss francs by the end of 2017 versus 2013, saying it
had saved 1.7 billion francs by the end of the first quarter.
UBS's common equity Tier 1 (CET1) ratio, a closely watched
measure of balance sheet strength which the bank uses as a
benchmark for its dividend, rose to 14.1 percent from 13.8
percent at the end of 2016.
($1 = 0.9947 Swiss francs)
(Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi and Joshua Franklin;
Editing by Michael Shields)