UBS AG has no plans to sell its U.S.-based wealth management business as the firm moves to find a new permanent chief executive and cope with its $2.3 billion rogue trading loss, UBS executives said in an internal memo sent to its Wealth Management Americas employees on Monday.
“We want to reassure you that wealth management at UBS has a global footprint and is a core pillar at the firm’s integrated business model,” the memo, signed by UBS Chairman Kaspar Villiger and interim Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti, said. “The continued success of our Wealth Management Americas business is essential to maintaining that footprint and helping achieve our strategic vision. Again, this business is not for sale.”
The memo comes after the Swiss bank announced on Saturday that Chief Executive Oswald Gruebel had resigned, and temporarily named Ermotti, head of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, to that role. Gruebel’s surprise resignation came amid reports that he may have clashed with UBS’s board on the firm’s future strategy and corporate governance plans.
Rumors of a possible sale of its Wealth Management Americas have followed UBS since early this year. UBS has persistently denied any plans to sell the business. Wealth Management Americas Chief Executive Robert McCann firmly denied any sale plans in a television interview in May.
In a memo to U.S. wealth management employees last week, McCann said that business is “stronger than ever,” and urged them not to let recent news distract them.
In their memo sent on Monday, Villiger and Ermotti credited McCann’s leadership for helping to improve the U.S. wealth management business following the financial crisis.
“The transformation of [Wealth Management Americas] over the past two years by Bob McCann and his team has positioned this business for significant growth,” Villiger and Ermotti said. “UBS is committed to further developing our franchise in this important wealth market under Bob’s leadership as we strive to become the best wealth management firm in the Americas.”