May 5, 9:36 AM EDT

UBS sees profit jump despite low rates, rise in franc; wealth management sees strong inflow

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- Swiss bank UBS Group AG says net profit almost doubled in the first quarter as money from rich clients flowed into its wealth management businesses.

The company said Tuesday that its net profit rose to 1.977 billion Swiss francs ($2.12 billion) in the January to March quarter from 1.054 billion francs in the same quarter a year ago.

Wealth management, which handles money for rich individuals and families, saw net new money inflows of 19 billion francs. The business saw its highest profits since 2008.

Those profits helped offset challenges from very low interest rates at its retail banking operation, and turmoil after the sudden rise of the Swiss franc in January when the Swiss central bank abandoned its ceiling on the currency's exchange rate.

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