UBS AG (UBSN) senior bankers are heading to Pebble Beach for a golf tournament with clients as a division of the firm draws criticism after a $2.3 billion trading loss, according to a person familiar with the event.
Employees from UBS’s Americas investment-banking division will spend part of the week golfing at the California resort with the company’s top clients, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the event is private. The bank, Switzerland’s largest, has been hosting the event for 10 years, the person said.
UBS, led by Chief Executive Officer Oswald Gruebel, 67, said last week that it suffered the loss from unauthorized trading in London and may be unprofitable in the third quarter. The advantages of hosting the annual golf event may outweigh any “negative” publicity for the Zurich-based firm, said Steven Kaplan, a professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.
“If it made business sense a month ago, it makes business sense today,” Kaplan said in a phone interview yesterday. “There’s a benefit to getting in front of your clients. Given what happened, there’s an additional benefit to reassure them.”
Aryeh Bourkoff, head of investment banking for the Americas, is the host for the event, the person said. Top clients and their families are invited, according to the New York Post, which reported on the golf outing yesterday.
“The 2011 Invitational is a long-standing tradition at UBS where clients of our investment-banking practice have an opportunity to confer with one another and their advisers in a relaxed and informal setting,” Peter McKillop, a bank spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement.
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