UBS shareholders have today approved payment of the second half of its 2019 dividend, making it the first major European bank to pay a full dividend for the year despite turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

UBS, along with rival Swiss bank Credit Suisse, in April decided to postpone payment of part of its 2019 dividend after mounting pressure from authorities over lenders' payouts during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Banks across the euro zone and the UK were halted from paying 2019 dividends during the peak of economic uncertainties in March and April.

But Swiss financial market supervisor FINMA took a softer approach, warning banks not to pay out dividends in order to conserve capital without banning them outright. 

Major Swiss banks have since weathered the pandemic's economic fallout with strong capital positions. 

Some 99.49% of the bank's shareholders today approved a special dividend of $0.365 per share in a virtual extraordinary general meeting, matching the initial payment made in May. 

Credit Suisse will hold its extraordinary general meeting on November 27 to request approval for the second tranche of its 2019 dividend payment. 

UBS has set aside some $2.5 billion to return to shareholders next year. 

At FINMA's behest, it is rebalancing the amount of payouts earmarked for buybacks to favour these over dividends, with former CEO Sergio Ermotti saying the approach allowed for greater flexibility amid economic uncertainty.