UBS Moved Some Proprietary Stock Traders to Asset Management

UBS AG, Switzerland’s biggest bank, moved some people from its U.K. and Asian proprietary stock-trading desks to the asset-management division as it exits the business in the investment bank, Chief Financial Officer Tom Naratil said.

“They’re managing client money now,” Naratil said in an interview in Zurich today. The bank is exploring options for the remaining part of the business, he added. UBS’s equities unit incurred a 20 million-franc ($20.5 million) loss in the second quarter from exiting proprietary trading.

Naratil said in February that the business, which was profitable for UBS, had about 50 people. UBS is exiting stock trading for its own account as it’s shrinking the investment bank by more than half to focus on wealth management as rising capital requirements and Europe’s debt crisis drag on profitability.

The equities unit reported revenue of 247 million francs for the second quarter, the lowest since the fourth quarter of 2008, hurt by a 349 million-franc loss tied to the initial public offering of Facebook Inc. UBS has “significantly bigger” ambitions for the business, run by Mike Stewart, Naratil said.

“Our core strengths are in Europe, and we’re weaker in the U.S. currently,” he said. “We need to invest more in the Americas, which we’re doing. The U.S. is where we see the greatest upside for us. There is a good plan to realize the ambitions that we have.”

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