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Vontobel H1 profit jumps 54%

Swiss bank Vontobel Group has reported a 54% jump in half yearly profit to CHF130.6 million, driven by a successful derivatives business and favorable equity markets.

Investment banking reported an increase of 84%, which the group said is attributable to the issue of listed derivatives in Switzerland, which are continuing to enjoy increasing popularity among investors. With a market share of 36%, Vontobel is the market leader in this field in Switzerland. Pre-tax profit rose by 13% in private banking and by 26% in asset management & investment funds.

Favourable equity markets in the first quarter of 2006 also helped operating income to grow by 39% to CHF 396.8 million. The group also grew its assets under management by 8% as a result of the acquisition of hedge fund Harcourt.

Herbert Scheidt, CEO of the Vontobel Group, said: This pleasing result underscores the dynamism and sustained innovative strength of the Vontobel Group, as well as the determination with which we are implementing our growth initiatives.

Vontobel is also considering acquisition targets, according to news reports, and may bid for Swissfirst, the Swiss private bank that has recently put itself up for sale amid allegations of insider trading.