UBS: Will Iqbal Khan jump back on the hiring carousel in the US?

For a long time, private banking in the United States was like the flow heater at UBS. Outgoing manager Tom Nartil tried to break the trend. Now there is talk of change.

Private banking figures in the US region, UBS’s most important market sector in terms of asset volume, were not particularly impressive until recently. In the just-concluded second quarter, pre-tax profit declined by more than a fifth to $397 million due to provisions for lower customer activity and legal risks. Of the fee-generating assets, $3.5 billion flowed from the largest Swiss bank.

On the other hand, another fairly significant statistic proved to be stable: the number of client advisors working in this area, so-called advisors, rose to 6,139 in mid-2022 (includes peers in Canada and Latin America here). This is compared to 6,218 advisors at the end of 2021.

internal numbers too low

However, as the US industry portal “Advisor Hub” learned from unnamed sources, the number of client advisors managed internally by the bank in the United States is reported to be 6,000 at the beginning of August, down from 5,612. UBS did not wish to comment on this on the portal; Internal surveys are considered of limited importance from the point of view of the Institute.

However, if the numbers are correct, UBS in the United States may have lost about 14 percent of its advisor base since early 2018. this while the bank boss ralph hammer In no uncertain terms, the biggest potential for the bank’s growth lies in the US and Asia. But to take advantage of this potential, the age of digitization will also require experienced workforce – and perhaps more of them.

against rising costs

the ball will be here in the future Iqbal Khan, Who will take over the sole management of Global Asset Management (GWM) from October. The division is also responsible for trading with wealthy American customers.

It makes sense that the outgoing GWM co-leader tom naratillo (picture below) UBS made a name for itself as a manager who wanted to control rising personnel costs in the US advisory business and disrupt the blissful round of jobs in this market, which is costly for banks. He would sometimes execute it with an iron fist and risked arguments with his subordinates.

Naratil 500

(image: UBS)

“they came back”

In short, America’s boss Naratil decided not to do more expensive hiring and to reward existing consultants in such a way that they would stay with UBS. When this worked only modestly, the large bank switched to exclusively recruiting high-revenue advisors and training young bankers of its own. As the smallest “wirehouse” in American private banking — competitors here include Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo and Merrill Lynch — the institution has its limits.

As “Advisory Hub” now reports, UBS is starting to spin around now compared to the Naratil era. Given a dry market for client advisors, UBS is prepared to re-play the sometimes costly recruiting game.

“They’re back,” an American headhunter is quoted as saying of UBS. “If all goes well, they are just as aggressive in recruiting as everyone else.” It will be interesting to see how the personnel spending of large banks in the US region develops under these premises.

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