Swiss private bank Julius Baer has reported a nearly 50% jump in net profit in 2020, driving on higher client activity which negated the impact of a write-down related to its struggling Italian subsidiary Kairos.

The group posted a net profit of CHF698.6m ($780.8m) in 2020, compared to CHF465m reported a year ago.

The growth comes despite a CHF190m non-cash charge related to its investment in Kairos.

The performance was also hit by a CHF73m provision tied to its dealings in the FIFA corruption case.

The group’s adjusted net profit jumped 24% from CHF772m in 2019 to CHF956.6m in 2020, while its operating expenses remained largely stable on a year-on-year basis.

The gross margin for the year improved by 6 basis points (bp) to 88 bp and its adjusted cost/income ratio by 4.7 percentage points to 66.4%.

Julius Baer’s assets under management (AuM) improved by 2% to CHF434bn driving on strong inflows.

Julius Baer Group CEO Philipp Rickenbacher said: “Julius Baer showed outstanding performance in 2020, both in quantitative and qualitative terms, reflecting the strength of our wealth management business model and the trust clients place in us.

“We delivered on the first leg of the three-year transformation strategy presented in February 2020.

“This strategy also gives us a clear roadmap for 2021 and beyond. In light of current industry challenges, from negative interest rates to a weak US dollar, we will stay our course and remain fully focused on achieving the 2022 targets we set a year ago.”

The group also announced a new share buy-back programme of up to CHF450m. The programme will launch next month and is expected to run until February next year.