Two years ago, explaining why UBS’ then two-year-old plan to save itself by cutting back on investment banking and doubling down on private banking wasn’t working, I-banking chief Andrea Orcel blamed “a perfect storm of challenges and changes from regulation, competitors and markets.” The meteorological event underlying Orcel’s metaphor refers to an unusually strong weather event dramatically exacerbated by the rare concurrence of a whole variety of circumstances that conspire to kill George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and John C. Reilly.
But UBS didn’t go under amidst the gales and crashing waves. It lives on to endure another apparently not-all-that-rare trial, one that can only be explained by the same cliché, although in all honesty it doesn’t sound all that bad this time.
Wealth management reported net outflows of 1.2 billion francs in the quarter, which UBS attributed to normal tax-related outflows in the U.S. and about 4.4 billion francs leaving from a single corporate employee share program in the Americas region.
Despite this almost “perfect storm” of forces dampening net money inflows, UBS Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti said on an analyst call that the bank still expects to reach its full-year target of 2-4% growth in net new money in 2018.