UBS makes major reshuffle at top of wealth management unit

Former Credit Suisse Group banker Iqbal Khan will be co-heading the key wealth management business at UBS Group. PHOTO: REUTERS
Former Credit Suisse Group banker Iqbal Khan will be co-heading the key wealth management business at UBS Group. PHOTO: REUTERS

ZURICH • UBS Group said former Credit Suisse Group banker Iqbal Khan is joining the firm as part of a major reshuffle that will see him take control of the key wealth management business with Mr Tom Naratil, as Mr Martin Blessing exits.

Mr Blessing, 56, a former chief executive of Germany's Commerzbank, will leave at the end of the year, according to a statement from Zurich-based UBS yesterday.

As part of the changes, Ms Suni Harford will take over asset management from Mr Ulrich Koerner, while Ms Sabine Keller-Busse takes over as president of Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Mr Blessing's departure had been widely expected after the global wealth management unit posted erratic results since the two former wealth businesses were combined into a single unit last year.

Clients pulled US$1.7 billion (S$2.36 billion) from the unit in the second quarter, where earnings were lower than expected.

Mr Blessing had earlier been seen as a contender to ultimately succeed CEO Sergio Ermotti when he was appointed after about eight years in charge at Germany's No. 2 bank, cementing his reputation by shrinking the bank's pile of bad loans and restoring the dividend. At UBS, he was known for a more formal approach that was seen as less effective in a business focused on servicing the needs of the world's wealthy.

Mr Khan's departure from Credit Suisse last month ended months of speculation about his future at the bank and relationship with CEO Tidjane Thiam.

He joined the bank in his late 30s after a rapid ascent through the ranks of Ernst & Young's Zurich-based assurance division, where he audited UBS Group. He joined Credit Suisse in 2013 and was named head of the bank's international wealth management unit.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2019, with the headline 'UBS makes major reshuffle at top of wealth management unit'. Print Edition | Subscribe