Jun. 18, 2014, 8:46 AM
- "Forget what UBS is saying and look at what it's doing," says activist fund manager Eric Knight, believing it to be just a matter of time before the bank spins off its wealth management business.
- Knight notes UBS's plan for a new corporate structure effectively creates a "good" bank for the wealth unit and a "bad" bank with investment banking and other non-core assets. While initially sold as an internal process, UBS has now announced an exchange offer under which it will swap shares into a new group holding company.
- The move means the businesses could be more easily separated if one ran into trouble.
Jun. 16, 2014, 7:23 AM
- Office, retail, and industrial properties are "where investor demand is certainly moving to" in China, says UBS global real estate head for Asia-Pacific, Trevor Cooke. "The stock of investment grade assets in China is growing at about 35 percent per year.”
- UBS already invests in China residential property through a 2008 JV with a domestic developer and Cooke, acknowledging the bubbly aspect of that market, says this makes asset management credentials that much more important. The bank is planning a 2nd residential fund, hoping to initially raise $100M, with an eye on ultimately bringing in $350M.
Jun. 12, 2014, 3:48 PM
- Jerry Marcus, the former head of BAML's retail investment banking group, is now vice chairman for UBS's Americas investment bank. Marcus initially will focus on UBS's retailing clients.
- His hire is the latest in the investment bank, known at UBS as Corporate Client Solutions. Just last month, UBS hired Barclays rainmaker Ros Stephenson as global chairwoman of the group.
Jun. 12, 2014, 8:52 AM
- UBS is lower by 1.8% in premarket action after a report from Autonomous Research suggests the bank could face $8B in fines and settlements related to currency-rigging charges.
- In all, Autonomous sees $35B in penalties, with UBS seeing the largest bill. Coming in at place and show are Deutsche Bank (DB) with $4.4B and Citigroup (C) at $4.3B.
- Autonomous is basing its estimates on the size of the fines handed out for Libor-rigging. "We acknowledge that our methodology is speculative, but it applies the theory that repeated wrongdoing attracts higher penalties, as witnessed elsewhere."
Jun. 4, 2014, 9:09 AM
- "Underperformance has left CS shares with 35% upside potential to our target price, one of the highest in the sector," says analyst Jernej Omahen, upgrading the stock to a Buy and adding the name to Goldman's Conviction List.
- "Our analysis underlines that Credit Suisse's business mix embeds strategic optionality for group ROE expansion that other, non-Swiss, investment banks don’t have." The bank's "reorientation" towards private banking and wealth management could: 1) Improve returns; 2) Improve capital generation; 3) Reduce TBTF risk; 4) Close the valuation gap with UBS, which currently trades at a 51% premium based on 2104 earnings estimates, and a 42% premium based on 2015 price/tangible book value.
- Shares +1.4% premarket
- Goldman also pulls its Sell rating on Deutsche Bank (DB) citing the recent capital raises (the latest one is today) and the bank's new strategic direction.
Jun. 2, 2014, 11:46 AM
- Alexander Friedman is leaving to pursue a new opportunity outside of UBS, and he'll be replaced as Global CIO by Mark Haefele, who is currently global head of investment. Both men are 43 and have been with the bank since 2011.
- Friedman joined UBS after clients had pulled about $250B in assets from the bank in the three years leading to 2010, but UBS reclaimed the title of world's largest money manager in 2012, and last year pulled in about $60B in assets.
May 30, 2014, 3:36 PM
- "The market has permanently shrunk," says RBC's Gerard Cassidy of fixed-income trading business at banks. FICC income of $22B in Q1 was off 37% from a year ago, and updates recently from the likes of Citigroup (C +0.6%), JPMorgan (JPM -0.5%), and Goldman Sachs (GS -0.4%) suggest Q2 could be worse.
- Of the two reasons - a new regulatory regime putting the squeeze on bank business practices and the absence of volatility, one may go away, but the other isn't.
- The new regime has banks cutting staff and restructuring units - especially from the likes of European players like Barclays (BCS +0.2%), Credit Suisse (CS +0.3%), and UBS (UBS -0.7%).
- “What these companies have decided to do, some more dramatic more than others, is restructure their business,” says Cassidy. “You just have to manage your business differently by realigning your cost structure to the new level of revenues due to the changes form rules, regulations and laws."
- ETFs: IAI, KCE, KBWC
May 30, 2014, 2:36 PM
- UBS pitched wealthy Belgians over a decade period encouraging them to open undeclared accounts in Switzerland, according to a local magazine which doesn't cite its sources. A spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutor confirms an investigation.
- UBS says it isn't aware of "any preliminary investigation" into its Belgian unit.
May 23, 2014, 7:15 AM
- Sharlyn Wu, a junior banker at UBS in Hong Kong, was suspended earlier this year along with top rainmaker Joseph Chee, as the bank investigated the hiring of Joyce Wei late last year. Chee was reinstated in March, but not Wu, and now she has left the company.
- Wei - who came over from JPMorgan - is the daughter of the CEO of Tianhe Chemicals Group, and UBS is helping that company with its $1B IPO in Hong Kong.
May 22, 2014, 3:19 PM
- Working on big changes in its investment bank, UBS hires Severin Brizay away from JPMorgan as its head of M&A for EMEA. Brizay spent fourteen years making it rain in Europe for JPMorgan, and his hire at UBS follows James Hartop's decision to get out of management and work directly with clients.
- Also hired - this time from Bank of America - is Glenn Rewick as managing director in EMEA advisory focusing on health-care deals.
May 19, 2014, 4:44 AM
- Swiss voters have overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to institute a minimum wage of 22 Swiss francs ($25) an hour, which would have been the highest in the world. Over 76% of voters cast a "no" ballot.
- "It's a strong sign to Switzerland as a center of employment," Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann said. "Accepting the initiative would have led to job cuts in economically weak, rural areas."
- Major corporations that could have been affected by a "Yes" vote include UBS (UBS), Credit Suisse (CS), Roche (RHHBY), Novartis (NVS), ABB (ABB), Glencore Xstrata (GLCNF) and Nestle (NSRGY).
- Switzerland's SMI index is -0.8%, while the USD-CHF is -0.1% at 0.8914 francs.
- ETFs: FXF, EWL, FSZ
May 18, 2014, 2:29 AM
- The Swiss are going to the polls today to vote on whether to approve a minimum wage of 22 francs ($25) an hour, which would be the highest in the world.
- The measure would affect the one-in-ten workers who earn below the 4,000 francs that the initiative stipulates.
- Businesses are against the union-backed proposal, saying it would force more people into part-time jobs and increase Switzerland's 3.2% unemployment rate. Polls show 64% of voters are against the initiative.
- Still, major corporations that could be affected include UBS (UBS), Credit Suisse (CS), Roche (RHHBY), Novartis (NVS), ABB (ABB), Glencore Xstrata (GLCNF) and Nestle (NSRGY).
- The referendum is the latest nationwide ballot relating to business. In March last year, voters authorized giving shareholders more say over executive pay but rejected a measure in November to cap management salaries.
- The Swiss are also voting today over whether to spend 3.1B francs on 22 new Saab (SAABF) fighter jets.
- ETFs: FXF, EWL, FSZ
May 15, 2014, 11:56 AM
- Veteran wealth management executive Paul Hatch has been hired by Wealth Management Americas boss Bob McCann to head up "Advice and Solutions" - a position set up to consolidate oversight of the products and services UBS's 7K brokers sell to high and ultra-high net worth clients.
- The hire is a departure for McCann, who joined UBS in 2009 and has been filling the executive ranks there with Merrill veterans. Hatch is an alumnus of E.F. Hutton/Smith Barney/Morgan Stanley.
May 7, 2014, 12:11 PM
- It started late last year amid a report of JPMorgan's (JPM +1.3%) practice of hiring children of well-connected Chinese, but the WSJ reports the SEC is seeking information from a host of banks - including Credit Suisse (CS -0.3%), Goldman Sachs (GS +0.8%), Morgan Stanley (MS), Citigroup (C +0.5%), and UBS - about their Asian hiring. Fortunately, this sort of thing never happens in the U.S.
- At issue are possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act which bars U.S. companies from anything that could resemble a bribe to foreign officials. The probe has rattled bankers in the region, says the Journal, with some choosing to walk away from potential deals which could come under scrutiny at some point.
May 6, 2014, 6:41 AM
- UBS is up 1.3% in premarket action after beating earnings estimates and becoming that rare European bank to begin returning capital to shareholders, announcing a special payout of at least 25 centimes per share (equal to 2013's proposed regular dividend; also equal to about $0.28).
- The bank reiterated plans to pay out more than 50% of earnings as dividends once it reaches its capital goals. The common equity ratio rose to 13.2% at the quarter's close, up from 12.8% at 2013's end and surpassing one of those targets. CEO Sergio Ermotti says the payout target of 50% is "intentionally open-ended."
- Previously: UBS AG beats by CHF0.06, misses on revenue
May 6, 2014, 6:17 AM
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