UBS Logo, Zurich, Feb. 2, 2016
The logo of the Swiss bank is seen at one of its branches in Zurich, Feb. 2, 2016. Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann

Swiss bank UBS kicked off 2016 with a steep year-on-year drop in net profit after a tough quarter for investment banking, which has also slashed earnings at U.S. rivals.

UBS, Switzerland's biggest bank and the world's largest wealth manager, said on Tuesday net profit for the first three months of 2016 was 707 million Swiss francs ($741.2 million). This was roughly in line with the average estimate of 704 francs in a Reuters poll of five analysts but sharply lower than the 1.98 billion francs posted in the same quarter last year.

In a bright spot, UBS's two private banking businesses saw net new money, viewed as an important indicator for future revenue in wealth management, of 29 billion francs, the highest such figure for a first quarter since 2008 and well above a poll forecast.