UBS boss wants to create 'a real investment bank'

Crystal Ball

'Are we there yet ? No, we’re not there'.

Two years ago, after UBS decided to shrink its investment bank, Andrea Orcel told employees they had an opportunity to create a firm based on a model that vanished in the late 1990s.

Bloomberg News reports that was an era before investment banks such as Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs ramped up borrowing to inflate returns. Orcel, who was hired to co-lead the UBS securities unit in 2012 and became sole head four months later, said a business that made money purely by connecting buyers and sellers and providing advice could work again, according to a person who attended the meeting and asked not to be identified.

In trying to rewire UBS’s securities unit into an old-school Wall Street firm, Orcel is making a virtue of necessity. Recent history left him and Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti, 54, little choice but to work with lower leverage, fewer people and less capital. They have eliminated almost 5,000 jobs, cut assets by two-thirds, curtailed capital-hungry bond-trading businesses and imposed an approach that relies more on relationships than providing financing to win business.

“What I would very much like to create is a real investment bank, the kind that there aren’t anymore,” Orcel, a 51-year-old former Merrill Lynch dealmaker, said in an interview this month. “Are we there yet? No, we’re not there.”

To access the complete Bloomberg News article hit the link below

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