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Opinion

The end of Warburg

Yet another name from the UK's merchant-banking past bites the dust. UBS is to ditch the Warburg name from its investment bank as part of a rebranding that also heralds the demise of all other extraneous suffixes.

Consigned alongside Warburg to the dustbin of financial history, as of June 9 at least, are the divisions Capital, Global Asset Management, Private Banking and PaineWebber, the US brokerage that in 2000 became the most recent addition to the UBS stable.

Now all of them will simply carry the moniker "UBS". Long-suffering employees must be hoping that this latest name change will mark the end of what seems like a never-ending saga. "I've had nine different business cards in 10 years here," says one senior investment banker. "And that's without counting promotions."

In the second half of the 1990s the investment bank's name changed roughly once a year. Good-old SG Warburg gave way to SBC Warburg in 1995. Two years later Dillon Read was suffixed after SBC bought the US boutique. Then the prefix disappeared after SBC merged with UBS in 1998, leaving the name as Warburg Dillon Read. It then became UBS Warburg in early 2000.

One astute investment banker predicted the changes nearly 18 months ago.

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