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Banking

UBS pushes deeper into Asia: Wuffli's vision for the region

In an investment banking world dominated by US bulge-bracket operations, UBS has muscled its way into the global league. Success has come despite its singular provenance, say critics, and, argues CEO Peter Wuffli, because of it. The Swiss bank’s head explains this reasoning to Chris Leahy and discusses developments on banking’s latest battlefront.

 UBS group chief executive officer Peter Wuffli

ALREADY THE WORLD’S largest wealth management organization, UBS has expanded quickly, principally through acquisition, into a leading global investment bank. Revenues from the group’s investment banking businesses accounted for some 44% of group revenues in the 2005 financial year, second only to UBS’s core private banking and wealth management operations, from where it has built its banking empire. Private and investment bankers might have seemed strange bedfellows some years ago, but wealth management has undergone a strategic renaissance in the past five years to become a core product of bulge-bracket investment banks. UBS group chief executive officer Peter Wuffli explains to Euromoney how he plans to make this model work as well in Asia as it does in Europe.

UBS began life as a wealth management firm and has expanded into investment banking. How important to the direction of the firm is your private banking business ?

It’s absolutely critical. We have a unique business model with a unique focus. Among the large-cap banks of $100 billion plus, we’re the most focused.

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