SWITZERLAND – UBS says its Global Asset Management unit added 12.7 billion Swiss francs (8.1 billion euros) in net new institutional money in 2003.

As at the end of December the arm had 313 billion francs of institutional assets under management, a 14% increase on the year-before figure. In 2002 UBS posted a 1.4 billion-franc outflow of institutional assets.

The Global Asset Management segment posted a pre-tax profit of 332 million francs in the full year, a 52% increase over 2002.

“The equity market recovery in the second half of the year, coupled with strong inflows into alternative investments, equities and fixed income mandates resulted in higher invested asset levels and, consequently, increased asset-based revenues,” the bank said in its 2003 earnings release.

It added that performance related fees in the alternative and quantitative businesses grew “significantly”.

The figures came as UBS confirmed that it plans to buy asset manager Laing & Cruickshank Investment Management from Credit Agricole’s Credit Lyonnais for around 160 million pounds. The UK firm has around five billion pounds under management.

“Our businesses are all performing extremely well and are positioned for growth,” said chief executive Peter Wuffli. “And while, of course, we cannot predict with certainty whether markets will continue in their friendly mood, we are committed to again securing for our investors the best possible returns in 2004.”

Overall, the bank’s fourth-quarter net profit rose 11% to 1.86 billion francs – taking 2003 net profit to 6.39 billion francs.