Julius Baer today highlighted increasingly cautious market conditions amid rising trade tensions, as the Swiss private bank reported a 19% rise in adjusted net profit for the first half of 2018. 

Adjusted net profit increased to 480 million Swiss francs ($484.41m), the Zurich-based bank said, matching forecasts in a Reuters poll of analysts. 

"Markets had a strong and upbeat start to the year but ended the first half on a more cautious note, pondering the potential impacts of trade tensions and of an impending end to quantitative easing," chief executive Bernhard Hodler said. 

Still, the executive said he was confident that the bank would hit its net inflow and cost efficiency targets this year. 

Baer, Switzerland's third-largest listed bank, brought in 10 billion francs in net new money in the first six months, a growth rate of 5% and within its 4-6% medium-term target range. 

The bank in May surprised analysts, who were expecting more of a slowdown in the wealth manager's net money inflows after very strong growth in 2017, which followed an earlier hiring spree. 

The bank has managed to bring in new money, an important indicator of future earnings in wealth management, thanks in part to its business in Europe, an unlikely source of growth in the broader industry.

The head of its European business said in June Baer was attracting at least as much new business in Europe as in high-growth Asia and was looking to expand there both through new hires, branch openings and potential acquisitions. 

The bank has hired 79 new relationship managers this year, taking the total to 1,475. Overall, Baer aims to hire a net 80 relationship managers this year. 

It said its assets under management rose by 11 billion francs to 400 billion francs. 

Hodler said in January 2018 would be a good year for Baer, but would be unlikely to keep pace with 2017's bumper net money inflows.

Hodler, who took over from long-time boss Boris Collardi following his departure for independent wealth manager Pictet in November, has said he stands for continuity at the bank.