Swiss asset manager Vontobel has posted a net profit of CHF131.1m for the first half of 2019, a fall of 1% compared to CHF132.7m a year earlier.

The group’s total operating income for the first six months of 2019 stood at CHF625.6m, up 7% from CHF583.3m a year ago.

Operating expenses increased 13% year-on-year to CHF476.1m.

The group’s advised client assets increased to CHF212.9m at the end of June 2019 from CHF192.6bn at year-end 2018.

Vontobel gained CHF5.3bn in net inflows from clients during the period.

The asset management business was said to be the main earnings driver. Its net new money growth of 9.6% exceeded the 4 to 6% target range.

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The unit’s inflows were mainly driven by the Fixed Income Boutique, including TwentyFour Asset Management, Vescore and Sustainable & Thematic Investing.

Advised client assets were CHF128.3bn at the end of June 2019, versus CHF117.5bn as of 31 December 2018.

However, the division’s pre-tax profit dropped 7% year-on-year to CHF86m.

Pre-tax profit of CHF71.4m at the combined wealth management arm was 27% higher than the previous year.

Advised client assets in the unit totalled CHF73.6bn as of 30 June 2019, compared to CHF67.2bn at the end of 2018. Net inflows were CHF300m.

Vontobel’s BIS CET1 ratio and BIS total capital ratio were 12.3% and 18.2%, respectively, at the end of June 2019.

Vontobel CEO Zeno Staub said: “The result for the first six months of the year shows that Vontobel remains on course and is moving ahead with the targeted implementation of its strategic priorities. Our organic growth underscores our clients’ satisfaction with our service and offerings.

“We are committed to our ambitious 2020 targets, although we expect the environment to remain challenging in the second half of the year. There are no signs of a change in operating conditions. The coming months will also be characterised by low interest rates, geopolitical uncertainty, a slowing economy and global pressure on margins.

“Despite these challenges, we will continue to invest in our strategic projects and pursue our differentiated and well-considered cost management efforts.”