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Asset management: UBS gets a facelift

Two years ago the asset management division of UBS was facing an uncertain future. With figureheads Gary Brinson and Tony Dye gone it was time for new faces to take the lead. As value investing has come back into favour, performance has turned around and now UBS has done the logical thing, uniting the operation under one banner. Where next for UBS Global Asset Management?

One of the least surprising announcements of recent times has been UBS's decision to bring its asset management division under one name.

The arrival of UBS Global Asset Management, which becomes official next month, heralds the end of two of the biggest investment names on either side of the Atlantic: Brinson in North America and Phillips&Drew in the UK.

Given the regard in which both brands are held in their respective markets (even taking into account the problems of the mid to late 1990s), it is not a decision UBS has taken lightly. Brinson has been a powerhouse name in investing since the 1980s when Gary Brinson led a management buyout of First Chicago and gave the business his own name. P&D, for its part is one of longest-standing City institutions. Spun out from the old stockbroking firm, PDFM rose to become the pre-eminent investment house in London, sewing up a huge percentage of the pension fund market.

Although both brands suffered from their conviction that markets were overvalued in the mid-1990s, clients were loath to sack them because of their long-term track record and their managers' faith in their views.

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