UBS AG (UBSN) hired Rohatyn Group’s Jorge Mariscal as chief investment officer for emerging markets and named four more regional CIOs as Switzerland’s biggest bank seeks to transform the way it advises wealthy clients.
Mariscal joined last week, while Andreas Hoefert, Yonghao Pu, Kelvin Tay and Daniel Kalt were promoted to CIOs for Europe, Asia Pacific (APB), Southern Asia Pacific and Switzerland, respectively. All will report to Alexander Friedman, UBS’s chief investment officer.
Their objective is to devise investment ideas at a time of low interest rates and turbulent markets, while building confidence among clients, Friedman said in an interview in Zurich yesterday. The bank also combined its wealth management research with the rest of investment management, and reorganized the unit by asset classes, including equity, credit and macro.
“We’re navigating the market turmoil pretty well and we now have a path to leveraging all the resources in this group,” Friedman said. “We need every advantage we can get in order to effectively manage capital in this low-yield environment, and that means leveraging any insight in any region, and the only way to have all that information in an organized fashion is to have an investment process that brings it all together efficiently.”
UBS also started an advertising campaign on March 15 to make clients aware of the changes at its wealth management unit.
Friedman, who served as a White House Fellow at the U.S. Pentagon, working for former Marine Corps Commandant General Charles Krulak, joined UBS last March. He has compared Switzerland’s biggest bank to Airbus SAS’s A380 double-decker plane: “big, complicated, with a lot of people on board.”
He said in August his job is to make it more agile, like a fighter jet, for the benefit of clients who entrusted the bank with 750 billion Swiss francs ($830 billion) of invested assets, as well as for UBS itself, which aims to boost earnings after record losses in the credit crisis.
“The fighter jet’s flying and so far it’s been performing,” said Friedman, 41. “Now we are integrating our resources across the globe to reach our destinations in a more direct manner. We’re trying to make the engines go faster.”
Friedman was a mergers and acquisitions banker at Lazard Ltd. before he was hired as the chief financial officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2007.
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