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UBS: Hamers’ quiet revolution

Ralph Hamers is quietly imposing his vision on UBS, axing senior titles to simplify the structure and eyeing a new US digital bank for affluent customers.

UBS had the kind of year most of its peers – particularly those in continental Europe – could only dream of.

The world’s leading wealth manager seemed determined to get the bad news out of the way early.

Like other big lenders, it took a hit when Archegos Capital Management collapsed, an event that left the bank feeling “very disappointed”, says chief executive Ralph Hamers, who joined from ING in November 2020.

The hedge fund’s collapse cost UBS $861 million, but it could have been much worse.

In the end, net income in the first quarter came in 14% higher year on year, at $1.8 billion, outpacing analyst estimates.

Ralph Hamers

That is when the year really got going. UBS posted a pre-tax profit of $2 billion in the three months to the end of June, up 63% year on year, thanks to a strong performance from wealth management.

Its third-quarter figures were even better. The bank posted a pre-tax profit of $2.28

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