UBS’s Iqbal Khan to Restructure Unit Catering to Super Rich
(Bloomberg) — UBS Group AG plans to restructure the unit that serves the bank’s top billionaire clients in the first sweeping changes under its new co-head of wealth management, Iqbal Khan.
Khan — who joined after an acrimonious split with Credit Suisse Group AG in October — was tasked by Ermotti with devising a plan within 60 days of his appointment to bring greater profits to wealth management. So far he’s indicated that UBS could make “quick wins” by increasing lending, a strategy Khan used at his former employer. The revamp of global wealth management is expected to be incorporated in the bank’s strategy update in January.
UBS set up the business with the ultra rich as a separate division within wealth management in 2010, when Juerg Zeltner was at the helm. The rationale at the time was to give clients better access to the investment bank and asset management divisions and offer them a broad range of services normally reserved for institutional clients.
The move saw former JPMorgan Chase & Co. banker Stadler steadily gain in power. He’s run the division since its set-up, pulling in ultra rich clients from Europe, Asia and Switzerland and gained additional responsibility in 2018 when UBS merged its two wealth management arms. He will continue to report to Naratil and Khan after the reorganization.
The new unit will double the number of clients that are currently served by the bank’s global family office, the people said. The reorganization will also remove some management layers, helping UBS move faster when executing on transactions. Some client advisers will be shifted to the existing regional groups for the Americas, EMEA, Asia Pacific or Switzerland, the people said.
UBS is using the new structure to try and do more business with each client as the speed of wealth creation is expected to slow, the people said. Currently, more than 1,000 advisers exclusively work on the $1.3 trillion in invested assets from the richest of the rich, according to UBS’s latest quarterly report.
UBS declined to comment.
The bank is considering other organizational changes within wealth management. Starting early next year, international clients booked in Switzerland who have between $500,000 and $5 million in assets will fall under a new coverage model that uses more technology and fewer human interactions, Christine Novakovic, the head of wealth management in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told employees in a memo last month.