UBS Shuffles U.S. Wealth Unit to Capture More Billionaires

(Bloomberg) -- UBS Group AG is promoting a long-time executive in the U.S. as it seeks to expand in the region and offer ultra-rich clients more bespoke investments.

Jason Chandler will become head of wealth management in the U.S. after more than two decades at the bank, according to a memo sent to staff Monday. That gives him oversight of almost 7,000 financial advisers in the region. He’s been co-leading investment platforms globally, and succeeds Brian Hull, who’s becoming executive vice chairman Americas. The changes will be effective Jan. 1.

UBS Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti is targeting the U.S. for its growth opportunities. More than a third of the wealth manager’s $2.4 trillion of assets are invested in the Americas, a region long dominated by local behemoths such as Morgan Stanley, which has more than double the number of UBS’s advisers in the area, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. The Swiss bank is undergoing the biggest overhaul of its technology in the Americas since its 2000 acquisition of retail brokerage Paine Webber Group.

There are 174 U.S. billionaires among the world’s 500 richest people with a combined net worth of $2 trillion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

UBS also is trying to lure more clients in China and Latin America, offering them investment capabilities around the world and harder-to-access wagers like private equity and hedge funds. It’s also increasingly seeking to lend to ultra-wealthy clients.

Christian Wiesendanger, who co-led the investment-platforms business with Chandler, will be the sole head of that unit from Switzerland. Hull has been with UBS since 2009, after 15 years at Merrill Lynch.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.