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Swiss wealth manager Julius Baer boasted record assets under management for 2016 as it announced plans to hike its dividend by 9 per cent.

The Zurich-based private bank said assets under management rose to hit SFr336bn ($339bn) at the end of the year, up 12 per cent compared with 2015, helping it “more than offset” a 2.5 basis point decline in its gross margin.

Despite record low and negative interest rates across most parts of Europe and a turbulent year for markets, the wealth manager reporting a significant rise in its net interest income with operating income climbing 6 per cent to SFr2.285bn in the year.

The bank’s board now plans to hike its ordinary dividend to SFr1.20 a share.

Switzerland’s private banks have had to overhaul their business models since US and European authorities have clamped down on tax evasion.

Chief executive Boris Collardi said:

We took full advantage of market conditions and our standing as the leading pure private banking group in 2016, by investing significantly in the recruitment of experienced relationship managers.

2016 has proven to be a challenging year which we mastered very well, validating the strength of our Group. Despite the significant long-term investments made, the strong growth in AuM helped to drive Julius Baer’s profit generation.

The Group is excellently positioned to deliver further profitable growth and shareholder value in the coming years.

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