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UBS bank reports huge switch back into profit

Swiss bank UBS, in the midst of a refocusing of its activities, reported a huge switch back into profit last year and accelerating performance in the last quarter, in a statement on Tuesday. The bank took huge losses from the financial crisis and, in common with Swiss banks in general, is having to adjust to a new Swiss banking climate on many fronts and notably owing to an opening up of Swiss banking secrecy. Last year it made a net profit of 3.2 billion Swiss francs (2.5 billion euros, ($3.38 billion) from a loss of 2.4 billion francs in 2012.

Julius Baer misses profit view as U.S. tax probe weighs

By Katharina Bart ZURICH (Reuters) - Julius Baer <BAER.VX> suffered a double blow on Monday as yearly earnings fell short of expectations and clients transferring from recently acquired Merrill funds were set to reach only the low end of its target range. Shares in the Zurich-based private bank, which had hit an all-time peak late last month, were down some 5 percent after the results and traded at 41.85 Swiss francs by 1210 GMT.

Merrill Lynch purchase hits Julius Baer's profit

Swiss private bank Julius Baer on Monday said net profit fell by 30 percent in 2013 owing to costs related to its takeover of Merrill Lynch's global wealth management business. Based on IFRS international accounting standards, net profit was 188 million Swiss francs (154 million euros, $207 million), Julius Baer said. It noted that an improvement in operating results was more than offset by the impact of the international wealth management (IWM)deal with US group Merrill Lynch, the costs of which had been expected.

Merrill Lynch purchase hits Julius Baer's profit

Swiss private bank Julius Baer on Monday said net profit fell by 30 percent in 2013 owing to costs related to its takeover of Merrill Lynch's global wealth management business. Based on IFRS international accounting standards, net profit was 188 million Swiss francs (154 million euros, $207 million), Julius Baer said. It noted that an improvement in operating results was more than offset by the impact of the international wealth management (IWM)deal with US group Merrill Lynch, the costs of which had been expected.

What we learned at (and about) Davos this year

Iran's charm offensive is working, China and Japan really are not getting on very well and bankers still have a hard time saying sorry. As far as the serious stuff was concerned, those were the main things this reporter took away from the 2014 World Economic Forum (WEF14). Less important but just as memorable on a debut outing at Davos was the scene just after 2:00 am on Friday morning on a packed dance floor at the Belvedere Hotel.

Republicans bash U.S. law targeting offshore tax dodgers

By Patrick Temple-West WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican National Committee (RNC) on Friday called for the repeal of a U.S. anti-tax-evasion law, siding with big banks, libertarians and American expatriates that have criticized the Obama administration statute. At its winter meeting in Washington, the RNC approved by voice vote a resolution in favor of abolishing the 2010 Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), set to take effect in July, marking the party's first explicit attack on the law.

Park returns home after 'sales diplomacy' trip to India, Switzerland

SEOUL, Jan. 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye returned home Thursday after a weeklong trip to India and Switzerland to enhance economic cooperation under her "sales diplomacy" drive. Park first made a state visit to New Delhi and held a summit with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The talks produced an agreement to revise the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement -- a free trade pact that has been in place since 2010. The revision, if realized, would allow South Korean firms wider access to the massive market of 1.2 billion people.

Japan PM seeks limelight as global elite gathers in Davos

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, currently embroiled in a diplomatic spat with China, takes centre stage at Davos Wednesday as 2,500 political and business leaders kick off their annual brainstorming blitz. With landmark Syrian peace talks opening just down the road and both Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu due to drop into the Swiss Alpine resort later in the week, the volatile situation in the Middle East will weigh heavily on this year's World Economic Forum.

Pope to Davos elite: use your skills for the poor

Pope Francis on Tuesday called on the world's political and business elite gathered in Davos to use their spirit of entrepreneurship to alleviate crushing global poverty. In a message read out at the opening ceremony of the annual World Economic Forum, Francis said: "Those who have demonstrated their ability to be innovative and for improving the lives of many people by their ingenuity and professional expertise can further contribute by putting their skills at the service of those who are still living in dire poverty."

Bloodied Syria, resurgent Iran set to dominate at Davos

The bloody civil war in Syria and Iran's efforts to come in from the diplomatic cold will drive the agenda next week as world leaders, business chiefs and celebrities gather in the swanky Swiss ski resort of Davos. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tops the bill of more than 40 leaders and 2,000 of the world's most powerful economic players expected at the mountainside gathering in the annual shindig that starts Tuesday.
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