Fallen UBS Boss Was An Ally Of The U.S. Unit In His Short Tenure

Sunday, September 25, 2011 23:05
Fallen UBS Boss Was An Ally Of The U.S. Unit In His Short Tenure

Oswald Grübel was barely the head of UBS for two years, but in that short period he found time to defend the Swiss bank's U.S. brokerage unit from rumors that it should be sold off.

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In fact, Grübel shielded UBS Wealth Management Americas -- still remembered by some as Paine Webber -- from recent layoffs and let active recruiting continue until fairly recently.


Moreover, he repeatedly stated that the unit was not for sale despite rumors to the contrary. He knew that the advisory business still brings in a lot of money, and as a bonus it's relatively uncorrelated to the Swiss bank's European operations.


Now that he's stepped down over the $2.3 billion rogue trader scandal, his interim successor, Sergio Ermotti, is being touted for his Merrill Lynch pedigree.


However, Ermotti is really an investment banker, not a client-facing advisor. His private banking experience could make him a naturally friend or foe of the U.S. advisors depending on how he -- or his permanent successor -- decides the bank can best recoup its losses.


In other words, it looks like everything's suddenly in play over there.


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