UBS Reviewing Australia Wealth Business, Zeltner Says
Narayanan Somasundaram and Jeffrey Voegeli
UBS Group AG is reviewing its Australian wealth-management business, said Juerg Zeltner, president of UBS wealth management.
The evaluation may result in a sale, people with knowledge of the matter said earlier.
“It’s very obvious if you run a global business that that’s part of an ongoing process, Zeltner said in a television interview with Bloomberg’s Manus Cranny on Thursday. ‘‘You have businesses who perform extremely well and you have businesses that struggle. That’s part of performance assessment and yes, we are reviewing our business in Australia.”
Mike Chisholm, the bank’s head of wealth management in the country, spoke to his team Tuesday about the review, the people said. They asked not to be identified because the matter is private.
UBS’s global wealth-management division posted lower-than-expected earnings in the fourth quarter. After taking over in late 2011, Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti has reorganized Switzerland’s largest bank to focus on money management for the rich, a business that’s under pressure from negative interest rates.
UBS targets an annual growth rate for assets under management of 3 percent to 5 percent. This is “roughly two times global growth,” said Zeltner.
While growth in net new money also slowed in the Asia-Pacific region in the fourth quarter, it grew faster than the other regions, UBS disclosed, at 7.8 percent.
“We have a bias towards emerging markets and Asia,” he said.