March 13, 2019 / 6:31 AM / a year ago

EFG International sets new targets as assets rebound from 2018 drop

FILE PHOTO: The logo of EFG International bank is seen at its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

ZURICH (Reuters) - Assets under management at Swiss private bank EFG International (EFGN.S) dropped to 131.2 billion francs ($130.21 billion) at the end of 2018, missing analysts’ expectations, as tough markets and exchange-rate swings weighed.

However, assets under management rose to 135.4 billion francs by February-end and hit 146.4 billion francs, when including Shaw and Partners, an Australian group in which EFG International is acquiring a majority stake, the lender said on Wednesday.

EFG reported underlying net new assets of 2.5 billion francs, although Switzerland and Italy missed its growth target of 3-6 percent “due to de-risking impact”.

Zurich-based EFG had acquired troubled Swiss bank BSI from Brazil’s BTG Pactual in 2016 in a deal that nearly doubled EFG’s size, but also saddled it with challenges.

BSI’s involvement in the scandal-hit Malaysian sovereign fund 1MDB prompted the closure of BSI’s Singapore branch as well as an order from Switzerland’s financial watchdog for it to disgorge tens of millions of dollars in profit.

EFG’s full-year net profit swung to 70.3 million francs from a loss of 59.8 million in 2017, and the private bank proposed raising its dividend by a fifth to 0.30 francs per share.

The company set 2022 financial targets including average net new asset growth of 4-6 percent over the period, a revenue margin of at least 85 basis points, a cost/income ratio of 72-75 percent and a return on tangible equity above 15 percent by end-2022.

It aimed to return 50 percent of underlying profit to shareholders, while maintaining a minimum CET1 capital ratio of 14 percent.

Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Thomas Seythal and Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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