July 25, 2024

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UBS shakes up wealth business to align more closely with investment bank

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UBS has shaken up its wealth management business in preparation for the division’s new co-heads, Iqbal Khan and Rob Karofsky, taking charge next week.

The reorganisation, announced to staff on Thursday morning, is designed to make its dominant wealth management business closer aligned to its investment bank and asset management unit.

It builds on a long-term strategy by Switzerland’s biggest bank of trying to sell more banking services to its ultra-rich clients, while converting investment banking customers into wealth management account holders.

“Our most important priority will remain unchanged: delivering exceptional outcomes for clients every day,” said Khan and Karofsky in a staff memo, seen by the Financial Times.

Last month, UBS announced that Khan — who previously ran the bank’s wealth management business by himself — would share the responsibility with Karofsky, who previously ran the group’s investment bank.

Khan was also made head of Asia-Pacific, while Karofsky was put in charge of the Americas.

The reshuffle was seen as UBS preparing two of its most likely successors to chief executive Sergio Ermotti.

Under the changes announced on Thursday, which people briefed on the plans said Khan and Karofsky had been working on since the start of the year, former Credit Suisse executive Yves-Alain Sommerhalder was given oversight of various business lines that bring the wealth management business closer to other parts of the bank.

From next week, Sommerhalder will head a new division called GWM Solutions, which will oversee units focused on investment management, markets, lending, ultra-rich clients and alternative investments.

In a sign of the growing importance of the Asian market for UBS, the bank said Patrick Grob, who would lead the new alternative investments division within GWM Solutions, would relocate to the region and from September be president of the Asia-Pacific business.

UBS also said its Latin American business, which was bolstered by teams joining from Credit Suisse, would be split out from its Americas division and continue to be led by Marcello Chilov.

Meanwhile, Jason Chandler will switch from being head of GWM Americas to chair, with Michael Camacho brought in from JPMorgan to be head of GWM US.

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