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Capital Markets

Investment banks: Battle of the bulge

Union Bank of Switzerland and Deutsche Bank are focusing on cracking the US market in their plans to become truly global investment banks. With a stable of expensive Wall Street talent on board, their willingness to commit time and money to establishing a US presence is already starting to pay off. Michelle Celarier reports

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Head to head: Richard Capone of UBS and Carter McClelland of DMG at war on the streets of New York

When Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) and Deutsche Morgan Grenfell (DMG) became the first foreign institutions to break into the top 10 for underwriting US investment-grade corporate debt, it was a sure sign that their strategies for cracking into the US bulge bracket were on target. But the two European giants' close proximity in the league tables ­ with UBS ranking ninth and DMG in 10th place during the third quarter ­ only highlighted their fierce competition in the US.

More than any other foreign institutions, the two are making major financial commitments to the US market as part of their drive to become global investment banks. Yet top executives at both recently played down their rivalry.

Carter McClelland, the former Morgan Stanley chief administrative officer brought in to head DMG North America, and Richard Capone, American veteran of 20 years at UBS who has recently taken over UBS North America from Swiss national Markus Rohrbasser, claim they do not see each other as their main competitors. Instead, they view the top three US bulge-bracket firms ­ Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs ­ as their chief rivals in many of the markets in which they are trying to make a dent.

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