UBS AG this week said it will combine the investment advice and research units of its Wealth Management Americas and UBS Wealth Management groups onto a single platform to provide all of its investment clients with a more comprehensive and integrated offering.

“This is a significant step for UBS's wealth management business,” UBS officials said in a statement. “We have brought together all the investment and research competencies of our business into a globally coordinated and centralized engine, complemented by our investment bank, to produce strong investment insights for our clients.”

The strategic shift is just the latest in a series of sweeping changes for the Swiss bank and wealth management firm following a devastating rogue trading scandal last year that cost it more than $2 billion, forced a pair of global equities executives to resign and led to the ouster of CEO Oswald Gruebel.

Sergio Ermotti replaced Gruebel in September and has spearheaded the bank’s gradual but steady shift away from investment banking toward more wealth management and advisory services.

“We are committed to extending our position as a leading investment management organization, accelerating our growth in key markets and continuing to differentiate ourselves from the competition,” UBS said in the statement.

The move resulted in a number of internal personnel changes for a firm with more than 900 investment specialists responsible for overseeing more than $1.5 trillion in investor assets.

UBS officials said Alexander Friedman, the Wealth Management unit’s chief investment officer, will now serve as the chief investment officer the newly combined units.

Mike Ryan will continue to lead the wealth management research team in Wealth Management Americas and serve as chief investment strategist for WMA.

Anthony Roth, in addition to his current responsibilities as head of wealth management strategies, will serve as head of asset allocation and portfolio construction for WMA, in coordination with the global chief investment office.

Ryan and Roth will both report to Friedman and William Carroll, head of Wealth Management Americas Solutions. In addition to his current roles, Andreas Höfert will serve as Chief Economist for Wealth Management Americas and be located in New York, UBS said in the statement.

Larry Barrett writes for Financial Planning.


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