Julius Baer to postpone AGM, propose split dividend

Swiss wealth manager Julius Baer (BAER.S) will propose splitting its 2019 dividend payment into two halves following a regulatory request, it said on Tuesday, postponing by a month its annual general meeting in order to meet notification requirements.

The announcement follows similar proposals by larger Swiss banks UBS (UBSG.S) and Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) responding to requests from Swiss financial supervisor FINMA that they conserve capital amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Julius Baer is adhering to this request from FINMA despite our continued strong capital, funding and liquidity position, which would have comfortably allowed us to pay the initially proposed dividend, and despite our strong performance in the first quarter of 2020,” Julius Baer Chairman Romeo Lacher said in a statement.

“However, our decision is aligned with those of our peers and marks our commitment for a joint and united effort by all parties involved in the face of the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis.”

Switzerland’s third-largest listed bank will now propose a shareholder payout of 0.75 francs per share at its AGM on May 18, and plans to call an extraordinary shareholder meeting by mid-November at which it will propose another 0.75 franc payout “in the absence of a drastic change of circumstances”.

The bank in its statement pointed to “robust” performance in the first quarter.

Its annual meeting had been scheduled to take place this week.