UBS Is Leaking Like A Sieve


There's a hardcore publicity campaign going on from within UBS to spread the word that investment bank President Ken Moelis is "preparing" or "threatening" to leave. This morning the story popped up in DealBook. Now it's on Deal Journal. Clearly, somebody is getting the message out that Moelis isn't happy.
So the questions are: who and why? All the leaks seem to come from what you might call the "Moelis militia" if you were given to a lot of alliteration. They're friendly to him. Certainly, a fair reading of the stories could be that they are a shot across the bow of the bank's Swiss management, warning them to get with the Moelis love or lose him forever.
Watching executive wars played out through press leaks is as much a Wall Street tradition as a Washington, DC one. Interestingly, this seems to be the first time that such a war is playing out on "blog time" and on the pages of the new blogs of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Moelis Era at UBS May Be Coming to a Close
[Deal Journal]


UBS Will No Longer Slash Expenses "Like A Jewish Shopkeeper"***

Carsten Kengeter, who finds inspiration in interesting places, has been replaced by Bear Stearns alum Sam Molinaro.

UBS's Investment Banking Head May Have To Slash His Own Expenses "Like A Jewish Shopkeeper"

As those of you keeping up with the many trials and travails of UBS know, the last couple years have been fairly brutal for investment banking chief Carsten Kengeter. Pre-tax IBD profit was down 55 percent YoY through June, employees are constantly on his ass about getting paid, the comments he made in attempt to "rally the troops" re: "slashing expenses like a Jewish shopkeeper" were totally taken in the wrong way, some guy perpetrated a $2 billion fraud (which was partially to blame for CK getting passed over for the promotion he was gunning for), and to top it all off, the higher-ups actually accepted his offer to forgo a bonus for 2011, which he would never have put out there if he thought they'd actually go for it. And now, as a thanks for all his hard work, management is publicly mulling the idea of lightening his load and paycheck. UBS is weighing a shakeup at the top of its investment bank that would give a reduced role to Carsten Kengeter and increased responsibilities to his co-head Andrea Orcel, three people with knowledge of the matter said. The board is meeting in New York today to consider a reorganization of the unit that will include cuts centered on the fixed-income operations that Kengeter has been responsible for since 2008, said the people, who asked not to be identified before the matter is made public. An announcement may come when UBS reports third-quarter earnings on Oct. 30, they said...Three senior executives who declined to speak publicly said they expect Kengeter to leave the bank before long. A person with knowledge of Kengeter’s thinking said he doesn’t plan to go. A UBS official declined to comment. Ermotti told staff in a memo this month he’ll take “all actions necessary” to tackle the “paradigm shift” in banking and will continue “remodeling” UBS. He said in July that the market environment has completely changed since the bank announced reorganization plans for the securities unit in November. UBS May Reduce Kengeter Role in Overhaul of Investment Bank Unit [Bloomberg] Related: Was That Wrong? Should Carsten Kengeter Not Have Done That?