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UBS Names Grounds, Warshaw to Head Investment-Bank Unit Alongside Neissa

UBS AG (UBSN), Switzerland’s biggest bank, named Matthew Grounds and Simon Warshaw joint global heads of its investment banking division after John Wall retired.

The two will work alongside Jimmy Neissa, who was co-head of the unit with Wall, with immediate effect, the Zurich-based bank told employees in an e-mail. Grounds will remain head of UBS’s Australian unit. Warshaw, head of investment banking in Europe, is advising British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc’s independent directors on the pay television’s 7.8 billion-pound ($16.7 billion) takeover by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

UBS’s revenue from managing stock and bond sales and advising clients on mergers and acquisitions fell 16 percent in 2010 from a year earlier to 2.84 billion Swiss francs ($3.1 billion). That was lower than UBS’s eight biggest competitors, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Chief Executive Officer Oswald Gruebel said last month earnings at the investment bank “must improve significantly” in 2011.

The division “finished 2010 with strong momentum, and we have high ambitions for growing the profit before tax contributions from the business,” Carsten Kengeter, CEO of the investment bank, said in the e-mail. A UBS spokesman confirmed the document and declined to comment further today.

UBS’s Australian unit overtook Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s local affiliate and Macquarie Group Ltd. last year to gain the top spot in Australian mergers and acquisitions advisory, according to Bloomberg data.

Sole Responsibility

Warshaw assumed sole responsibility for investment banking for Europe, the Middle East and Africa after his co-head Hermann Prelle took a one-year sabbatical in September 2010.

New York-based Neissa, 49, joined UBS in 2001 and was previously chairman of mergers and acquisitions in the investment banking division.

Wall, born in 1961, returned to UBS in 2009 after taking a short break from the industry. During his 25-year career at the Swiss bank, he has overseen proprietary trading and was a co- head of its equities unit.

Kengeter, who became sole head of the investment bank last year, told investors in November that the decline in investment- banking revenue was a result of UBS missing out on some of the biggest deals. The unit needs to be more closely aligned with sales and trading to improve earnings, he said.

He named Roberto Hoornweg as co-head of its fixed-income, currencies and commodities unit with Rajeev Misra last month, replacing Dimitrios Psyllidis. Misra and Hoornweg will run the securities business together with equities co-heads Yassine Bouhara and Francois Gouws, according to the bank.

Gruebel has hired more than 1,700 investment bankers since coming out of retirement in 2009 to rebuild UBS and stem customer defections following a government rescue in 2008.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gavin Finch in London at gfinch@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net

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