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Societe General’s Swiss Private Bank 2011 Profit Fell 19%

Societe Generale SA’s Swiss private bank said full-year profit fell as the euro-region debt crisis reduced investor confidence in financial markets and income from trading and commissions declined.

Net income fell 19 percent to 33.1 million Swiss francs ($34.8 million) from 40.7 million francs a year earlier, the Geneva-based unit said in its annual report sent by e-mail today.

“While 2011 represented a further chapter of the years of crisis we have been experiencing since August 2007, its challenges were particularly difficult to overcome against a backdrop of heightened political, economic and financial mistrust,” Guillaume Lejoindre, the unit’s chief executive officer, said in a letter published in the report, adding that he expected “improved fundamentals” in the economy and markets this year.

Net income from commission and trading activities dropped 1.4 percent, while operating expenses were up 8.5 percent as the firm added staff and salary increases outpaced inflation, it said. Assets under management advanced 4 percent to 25.9 billion francs, helped by net client inflows of 1.5 billion francs.

Paris-based Societe Generale, France’s second-biggest bank by market value, oversaw 85.4 billion euros ($108 billion) for wealth-management clients worldwide at the end of March.

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