UBS re­struc­tures wealth di­vi­sion

The Star Early Edition - - INTERNATIONAL - Bloomberg

UBS IS re-or­gan­is­ing its wealth man­age­ment busi­ness in Europe and emerg­ing mar­kets (EEM), ex­pand­ing the role of man­agers to over­see the new struc­ture, ac­cord­ing to a memo to em­ploy­ees.

When­ever prac­ti­ca­ble, cross-bor­der oper­a­tions will be com­bined with do­mes­tic busi­nesses in ma­jor mar­kets, start­ing in Ger­many, the United King­dom, Italy and Spain, Paul Raphael, the head of wealth man­age­ment for the re­gion, said in the memo and con­firmed by the bank.

“Con­verg­ing client needs and reg­u­la­tory trends across EEM rep­re­sent a unique op­por­tu­nity to bet­ter align our­selves to serve our clients,” Raphael said.

“The ‘one mar­ket’ ap­proach will al­low the whole wealth man­age­ment or­gan­i­sa­tion to im­prove the strat­egy for the re­spec­tive mar­kets.”

UBS is re­duc­ing the num­ber of book­ing hubs for its cross-bor­der busi­ness to three coun­tries – Switzer­land, Ger­many and the UK – from about 10 at present. Euro­pean on­shore busi­nesses will be in­te­grated in the bank’s new con­ti­nen­tal hub for wealth man­age­ment in Frank­furt.

The changes come as clients who once favoured their home mar­ket are in­creas­ingly look­ing for global in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties. Banks mean­while are pre­par­ing for new EU rules that will re­quire them to be more trans­par­ent about their oper­a­tions.

The so-called Mi­fid II rules take ef­fect next year, when Switzer­land starts im­ple­ment­ing an agree­ment to turn over in­for­ma­tion on bank ac­counts held by for­eign­ers to tax au­thor­i­ties in other coun­tries.

Raphael is re­spon­si­ble for Europe and emerg­ing mar­kets out­side of the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion – a ter­ri­tory that ac­counted for about 24 per­cent of client as­sets man­aged by UBS, or about 523 bil­lion Swiss francs (R7.12 tril­lion), at the end of March. His unit posted the sec­ond-big­gest growth of in­vested as­sets in the first quar­ter.

PHOTO: REUTERS

UBS is adopt­ing a ‘one mar­ket’ ap­proach.

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