Bob McCann has the job to run the wealth management unit of UBS, Charlie Gasparino is reporting. The deal has been agreed between the Swiss bank and the former head of Merrill Lynch’s brokerage. Gasparino says that the deal will likely be announced at the end of the month.
This sets the stage for a battle royale between UBS, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch. McCann is expected go to after top producers at Merrill Lynch, promising greater indpendence and a freedom from the recent Bank of America’s trouble. McCann reportedly wants to spin the brokerage off from UBS and rebrand it with the old Paine Webber name.
Bank of America recently hired Sallie Krawcheck to the run the Merrill Lynch brokerage. She has been promising to bring back the Merrill culture, which has suffered since Bank of America acquired the brokerage. She’s been reaching out to former Merrill executives, hoping to lure them back to the firm. She also brought back the iconic Merill bull symbol, which Bank of America arrogantly and stupidly extinguished earlier this year.
The third entrant into the ring is Morgan Stanley, which purchased a majority stake in Smith Barney from Citigroup in January. The combined wealth management unit will rival both UBS and Merrill. It is currently run by James Gorman, who will take over as CEO of Morgan Stanley when John Mack steps down at the end of tyear. Ironically, Krawcheck once ran Smith Barney and Gorman was once a big shot in the wealth management business of Merrill.
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