Yesterday news broke that Jeffrey McDermott, one of three global co-heads of investment banking at UBS, was leaving the bank for parts unknown. The latest rumor has Kenneth D. Moelis, the president of UBS’s investment bank in New York, considering leaving the firm. Not just considering. "Threatening," in the words of DealBook.
Here's how DealBook describes the possibility of Moelis leaving:
The loss of Mr. Moelis would be a stunning blow for UBS, which ranked first in advising initial public offerings globally and seventh in advising on global mergers and acquisitions last year, according to the research firm Thomson Financial. Around Wall Street, Mr. Moelis is known for his long list of big-name clients and for a long history in investment banking, including high-profile stints at Drexel Burnham Lambert, which he left in 1990 after the firm filed for bankruptcy, and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, where he ran the Los Angeles office.
But Mr. Moelis has had frequent confrontations with UBS’s managers in Switzerland, who he believes have not used the firm’s balance sheet aggressively enough, especially as the private equity market has grown. He has been embarrassed when he committed loans to clients, only to be told by his Swiss bosses that he could not make the transaction.
An interview with Moelis protégé McDermott at Deal Journal yesterday might shed some additional light on Moelis potential departure. It's a short interview but we noticed that McDermott answers all the question in the first person singular except for the one about why he left UBS.
McDermott: I’m just one of these guys that loves the big turnaround or to take a business to a higher level. We came here in 2001 to establish UBS Investment Banking in the U.S. A lot of the hard work is done, and it’s steady-as-she-goes now.
Could it be that with that "we" McDermott was indicating a broader feeling of Mission Accomplished at UBS?
President at UBS Investment Bank Said to Consider Leaving [DealBook]
Q&A With UBS’s Jeff McDermott [Deal Journal]