Banking

UBS overhauls wealth management business, plans 500 job cuts

UBS, the Swiss multinational investment bank, is rearranging its wealth management business across Europe, Middle East and Africa regions in a bid to streamline it, Bloomberg reports.

As many as 500 private banking jobs will be cut as a result of the revamp plans, erasing three levels of management.

The bank wants to speed up the lending process for its richer clients

According to a staff memo confirmed by the bank, two new executives will also be joining the fold: Caroline Kuhnert as head of Central and Eastern Europe, and Ali Janoudi as head of the Middle East and Africa. These new appointments see the private banking business in EMEA split into two.

Current EMEA head Christine Novakovic will continue to lead the European business.

The bank then plans to manage loans from the wealth business through a separate risk book in its bank to speed up the lending process for its richer clients.

Related: Wealth Wizards seeks £30m funding and new investors

“To deliver on these opportunities we are pleased to announce that we will accelerate decision-making and time to market by delayering, reducing organisational duplication, and increasing business unit (BU) autonomy, which comes with more accountability,” the memo said.

The changes follow the appointment of Iqbal Khan as co-president of the banks global wealth business last year. Khan resigned from competitor Credit Suisse in October 2019, following what some news outlets described as a ‘James Bond-style corporate espionage scandal’.

UBS’ co-president of global wealth management Iqbal Khan

After hiring private detectives to spy on Khan for seven days, it emerged he was helping rival UBS recruit its bankers, where he has now begun his new role. Alongside fellow co-head Tom Naratil, Khan is now tasked with the job of reinvigorating the bank’s wealth management business.

Just under two years after the bank merged its Americas and global wealth units into a one single business, Naratil and Khan are now reverting back to a regional strategy – one which Khan also carried out at UBS.

Read next: DBS Wealth Management extends ten-year partnership with Avaloq

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