INSIDER: Here's Why Obama's Best Banker Buddy Suddenly Left UBS

Robert Wolf, Obama

Photo: AP Images

Yesterday the news broke that Robert Wolf, the chairman of UBS in the Americas, is leaving the Swiss bank and is starting his own consulting and advisory firm.  A well-connected UBS insider (who prefers to remain anonymous) gives us his take, which is that Wolf, an 18 year veteran at UBS who is friends with President Obama, had been on “thin ice for a while.”  

Our source characterises the view from inside the firm: 

“Every time for the last 2 years that someone questioned his contribution to the firm, a fluff piece about him and Obama would magically appear in the press.  That got old.  I do know that this was not a recent decision.  He’s been on thin ice for a while.  Internal tension was being caused by the recent troubles and the knowledge that he was making a ton of dough.  New mindset at UBS and most brokerages, pay your way or get out.” 

Wolf has a reputation on The Street for being tight with Obama.

In the past, the top banker and the President have vacationed together where they have played basketball and golfed with each other.  

Just last month, the New York Times’ Susanne Craig reported that Wolf’s close ties to Obama was making some UBSers uncomfortable because of his administration’s push for tougher regulations on the financial services industry.   

He was even given an edict to direct all media inquires to UBS’s press office, the NYTimes reported. 

What’s more is at that time, Wolf had also raised more than $500,000 for Obama’s re-election campaign this year, the report said.  

We reached out to UBS for comment and will update as warranted. 

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