Major Swiss bank UBS said Tuesday that its net profit had jumped 79 per cent to 6.2 billion Swiss francs (6.07 billion dollars) last year, but the bank reported less solid growth in the fourth quarter.

UBS shares dropped 7.2 per cent on the Zurich stock exchange during the course of the morning.

The annual result was boosted by tax credits of more than 2 billion francs that were booked in the second half of the year.

In the fourth quarter, the bank's profit rose to 949 million francs, 10.6 per cent higher than in the same period last year.

However, only the earnings from asset management and from personal and corporate banking rose between October and December, while UBS's investment banking and wealth management operations declined.

UBS said its wealth management operations saw a net outflow of 3.4 billion francs in client money in the last quarter, as clients in emerging economies and Europe reduced debts and repatriated funds that they had parked abroad.

The bank's managers said that the downturn and high turbulence seen in financial markets in January would continue to pose challenges this year.

Low interest rates and the strength of the Swiss currency would add to the headwinds, they predicted.

In addition, they said that Switzerland's plan to tighten banking regulations for major lenders UBS and Credit Suisse would increase costs.

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