GENEVA (AP) — Switzerland's biggest bank, UBS AG, posted Tuesday a 1.9 billion francs ($2.1 billion) loss for the fourth quarter in the wake of a series of lawsuits, scandals and a wave of restructuring.
The bank, based in Zurich, attributed the loss mainly to "net charges for provisions for litigation, regulatory and similar matters as well as net restructuring charges and an own credit loss." In contrast, UBS made a net profit of 323 million francs in the fourth quarter of 2011 despite a $2 billion rogue trading scandal.
UBS ended the full year 2012 with a loss of more than 2.5 billion francs, compared with a profit of 4.1 billion francs for 2011.
The bank also announced Tuesday that it is to buy back approximately 5 billion francs of its own bonds in an attempt to reduce its funding costs.
Sergio Ermotti, who was appointed CEO in November in the wake of a major trading scandal, said the bank nonetheless "made decisive progress in executing our strategy last year and started 2013 in a strong position."
"Our financial strength, our attractive and unique business mix and our enviable global client franchise give us a competitive advantage," he said in a statement Tuesday. "This allows us to restore client confidence while we execute our strategy and address challenges of the past."
UBS is one of the world's largest managers of private wealth assets and is on the list of the 29 "global systemically important banks" that the Bank for International Settlements, the central bank for central banks, considers too big to fail.