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UBS back to profit in Q4, outflows accelerate

Swiss bank UBS posted its first quarterly net profit since Oswald Gruebel took the helm a year ago, but client withdrawals rose well above forecasts, signaling he may need more time to steady the ship.

UBS, hit hard by the credit crisis and a bitter US tax row, needs to show sustainable recovery to win back client and investor confidence, particularly as a US settlement is now in question and Swiss bank secrecy remains under attack.

UBS said it expected client withdrawals to continue “in the immediate future,” but said the investment bank's performance as a whole would improve in 2010.

UBS posted quarterly net profit of 1.205 billion Swiss francs ($1.1 billion), partly helped by one-off tax credits and a cut in bonuses, its second positive quarter in two years.

Results came ahead of expectations for 326 million francs profit in a Reuters poll. (Reuters)