Wealth Management Not Quite The Low-Volatility Sure-Thing UBS Was Counting On

Even though they had a plan and everything! Son of a!

The only way he can smile these days.

A few years back, UBS decided it was tired of the ups-and-downs-and-risks-of-LIBOR-rigging involved in being an investment bank. So it decided to focus on the thing that had always been good to it. Something safer, and more consistent. Something like wealth management. And CEO Sergio Ermotti knew just how to make it work: hire 100 “dominant super-teams” to rule the roost and turf out anyone who didn’t make the grade.

So far, not so good.

All told, UBS’s wealth-management business saw 3.4 billion Swiss francs (about $3.3 billion) in net outflows in the fourth quarter…. Pretax operating profit at the business fell 47% compared with the same quarter a year earlier, to 344 million francs.

UBS also issued a gloomy forecast, warning that the economic challenges, low interest rates and poor market performance that have affected the bank’s recent results “are unlikely to be resolved in the foreseeable future.”

UBS Earnings Are Hit by Wealth-Management Woes [WSJ]