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INVESTMENT BANKING | Cesar Tordesillas, Singapore
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UBS boss Gruebel seeks overhaul of investment banking unit

UBS Chief Executive Oswald Gruebel will pursue an overhaul of investment banking at a meeting with the board in Singapore, after unauthorized trading caused a $2.3 billion loss.

 

The UBS board meets in Singapore on Wednesday and Thursday for one of the four regular meetings it holds every year and strategic changes to the investment bank are on the agenda, said several sources with direct knowledge of the plans.

The bank's biggest shareholder, Singapore-based sovereign wealth fund GIC, said it had discussed the alleged fraud with UBS management, adding it was disappointed by the case and urged UBS to take "firm" action to restore confidence.

GIC, which has a 6.4 percent stake in UBS and has lost about 77 percent of its 11 billion Swiss franc investment in the bank, said it had sought details on how UBS was tightening controls.

Gruebel said he would "bear the consequences" of the $2.3 billion trading loss that was discovered last week but did not want to quit, adding the affair would influence the future strategy of the investment bank.

 

UBS is under pressure to scale down, ringfence or even split off its risky investment banking business from its core wealth management unit in order to shield private clients.

But the top executive and another source at the bank said it would be "business as usual" at meeting and the board would not be rushed into dumping the investment bank.

"The investment bank is critical to our strategy. Anyone that thinks you can run a wealth management model without an investment bank doesn't know the industry," said the top executive.

Thd full story is available at Reuters.

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