As we mentioned yesterday, UBS has been in talks with high level Wall Street veterans about running its US wealth management business.
UBS AG, looking to strengthen its U.S. wealth-management operations, has discussed whether to hire former Merrill Lynch & Co. brokerage chief Robert McCann or former Citigroup Inc. Chief Financial Officer Sallie Krawcheck to run the unit but hasn’t made a decision, according to people familiar with the situation.
The talks are part of a wider reckoning inside UBS about the fate of its U.S. brokerage unit. The Swiss bank’s army of 8,760 brokers is slightly larger than it was last year, but it has seen about 6% of its brokers leave since September, said someone with knowledge of its operations. Last year, UBS considered selling the business to Morgan Stanley, which instead bought a controlling stake in Citigroup Inc.’s Smith Barney unit, giving it more than twice as many brokers as UBS.
UBS Chief Executive Oswald Grübel and other executives now are searching for ways to increase the flow of new money into the brokerage operations and to boost recurring fee income.
Company executives haven’t decided whether to bring in an outsider, but that is one of the options being seriously considered, according to people familiar with the matter. While UBS has talked to some high-profile Wall Street veterans in recent months, the company still could wind up hiring someone who would rank below Marten Hoekstra, currently UBS’s head of wealth management in the U.S.
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