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Swiss bank Julius Baer set to meet targets despite market fall

Logo of Swiss private bank Julius Baer is seen in Zurich

ZURICH (Reuters) -Julius Baer on Monday said it was on track to reach its 2022 profitability targets, even though "challenging market" conditions have shrunk its assets.

Assets under management fell by 11% to 429 billion Swiss francs ($449.07 billion) in the 10 months to Oct. 31, Switzerland’s third-largest listed bank said, as it was hit by declines in global stock and bond markets.

The 52 billion franc downturn was mitigated by positive currency exchanges, mainly the stronger dollar, as well as net new money inflows of 3 billion francs, it said.

"Supported further by the diligent execution of the revenue and cost measures in the first two years of the current strategic cycle, the cost/income ratio, pre-tax margin and return on CET1 capital (RoCET1) targets set for 2022 remain well within reach," the wealth manager said in a statement.

Julius Baer also said it would meet its goal to buy back up to 400 million Swiss francs worth of shares by the end of February 2023.

The bank said it had also reclassified 1 billion francs of assets under management to assets under custody following asset freezes resulting from Western sanctions imposed on clients following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

"The 10M22 statement is very solid, despite lower AuM than estimated," Vontobel analyst Andreas Venditti said. "JB strongly benefited from rising interest rates, more than offsetting muted client activity."

($1 = 0.9553 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by Noele Illien, editing by John Revill and Barbara Lewis)