UBS Wealth has had a difficult time moving the needle of late. They’ve all but mothballed meaningful advisor recruiting and turned their sights on advisor retention (which isn’t going necessarily as planned). A recruit here or there will find its way into the headlines, but leadership at the firm is more focused on cost controls than headcount.
All that being said a flurry of changes were made to the unit and the bank at large a couple of weeks ago. A rundown via Bloomberg gives us some color:
“After a year marred by huge legal fines, questions about succession planning and a deepening slump in share prices, Ermotti unveiled a revitalized board, replacing wealth management co-head Martin Blessing with former Credit Suisse Group AG banker Iqbal Khan. Blessing, a former Commerzbank CEO, and Ulrich Koerner, president of asset management and Europe, Middle East and Africa, will both leave the bank as part of the changes.”
“Other appointments — including the elevation of Suni Harford as asset management head and Sabine Keller-Busse as EMEA president — are an attempt by the bank to replenish a management board weakened by top level departures in recent years. The revamp also positions Khan, 43, as a future CEO candidate after Chairman Axel Weber said earlier this year that the bank was in the early stages of succession planning as he and Ermotti enter their eighth year in charge of the world’s largest wealth manager.”
That is a lot to keep track of, if you are scoring at home. A potential CEO successor, changes to the board, asset management units, etc. All in the name of boosting confidence in the banks direction and (let’s be honest here) boosting the stock price.
Time will tell if this moves the needle. What we do know is that advisors at UBS are more interested in technology platform upgrades (or a lack thereof), and the firms move away from the broker protocol.