UBS names regional wealth heads in private-banking restructuring

UBS is looking for ways to maintain its edge and reinvigorate shares that have trailed rivals over the past year. PHOTO: REUTERS

ZURICH (BLOOMBERG) - UBS Group is splitting its European wealth management business into three regions and expects to cut as many as 500 private banking jobs globally as the lender overhauls its most important division.

The revamp will break apart the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) private banking business led by Christl Novakovic, giving Caroline Kuhnert responsibility for central and eastern Europe and Ali Janoudi the Middle East and Africa. Novakovic will keep Western Europe, according to an internal memo from wealth management co-heads Iqbal Khan and Tom Naratil that was obtained by Bloomberg.

The changes are the latest steps in a broad overhaul of wealth management since Khan came in as co-head three months ago and he and Naratil were tasked by chief executive officer Sergio Ermotti with devising plans to revive the business.

UBS is looking for ways to maintain its edge and reinvigorate shares that have trailed rivals over the past year. Khan joined after an acrimonious split with Credit Suisse Group in October.

UBS was up 2.4 per cent at 12.59 Swiss francs as of 9:12am in Zurich. The stock has gained 5.4 per cent in the last six months, in line with the Stoxx Europe 600 banking index.

To help boost lending to rich clients, UBS also plans to manage all loans originated in the wealth management business through a separate risk book in its investment bank, according to the memo. Khan previously indicated that UBS could make "quick wins" by increasing lending, a strategy he used at his former employer Credit Suisse Group AG.

The goal is to eliminate time-consuming negotiations between wealth managers and the investment bank, and speed up approval of loans.


Paula Polito, head of global client coverage, will take an advisory role as divisional vice chair for global wealth management.

Chicco di Stasi will lead structuring and origination outside of the Americas for GWM and act as a link between the investment bank and the wealth management.

Patrick Grob will lead distribution outside of the Americas for GWM.

Paul Crisci will develop a private-markets strategy to be implemented across the bank.

Mark Haefele will lead an expanded chief investment office that incorporates wealth planning and mandates.

Bruno Marxer, who will run the mandates subdivision, will report to Haefele.

Christian Wiesendanger, former head of investment platforms and solutions, will stay on as an adviser.

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