UBS: An onshore network for offshore banking
As Euromoney went to press UBS was preparing to announce numbers which will provide a hint as to how large a volume of money wealthy Italians have taken out of the bank in Switzerland and repatriated to Italy to take advantage of a one-off tax amnesty. It will be a lot.
The old offshore banking model is dying. A Swiss court last month found that Swiss regulators acted unlawfully by insisting that UBS deliver details of thousands of US accounts to be shared ultimately with the US Internal Revenue Service but it’s a decision that comes too late to make any difference.
Grübel says: "A new environment of enhanced transparency and compliance simply forces you to say goodbye to some clients and that is happening. But the big Swiss banks have never depended on black money anywhere near as much some of the smaller ones do. And the good news for UBS is that we are already the biggest onshore wealth manager in the world."
That onshore business presence was built up painfully, at considerable investment expense and with quite a few mis-steps along the way, in the decade leading up to the financial crisis that nearly blew up UBS due to its investment bank’s exposures.