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UBS bank shares plunge as rich investors withdraw money

Swiss bank UBS saw its shares slide on Tuesday on news that investors had pulled billions out of its division serving wealthy clients — a token of the market turbulence that has shaken the world in the past few months.

The Zurich-based bank, which nevertheless booked higher fourth quarter profits, cited "very low levels of client activity and pronounced risk aversion" as it reported 3.4 billion Swiss francs ($3.3 billion) had flowed out of its wealth management arm, which handles money from rich people outside the U.S.

Fourth-quarter outflows from clients in emerging markets and in Europe outweighed inflows in the Asia Pacific region and Switzerland.