UBS's Orcel Said to Demand Bankers Hold 300 Client Chats a Year

(Bloomberg) -- UBS Group AG investment bank chief Andrea Orcel and key lieutenants are increasing pressure on top financiers to boost returns amid ongoing internal debates about the securities unit, people familiar with the matter said.

Managing directors who oversee specific sectors need to attend about 250 face-to-face client meetings a year, the people said, declining to be identified as the details are private. Bankers advising on mergers and IPOs who are responsible for individual countries need to meet approximately 300, the people said. Numbers are closely monitored, causing increased frustration, the people said. Those missing targets receive e-mail rebukes from top executives, one person said.

UBS Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti has spent much of his tenure refocusing the bank on wealth management, leaving Orcel, a fellow Merrill Lynch alum, to shrink businesses including fixed-income trading. Orcel’s division now generates most of its income from equities, dealmaking and underwriting and there’s a greater push to make the investment bank a unit that services rich clients, the people said.

UBS didn’t immediately comment.

Orcel said in a 2015 Financial Times interview that if he could be CEO of any bank, “UBS would be a good place to start.” Other potential candidates to replace Ermotti in the future include Martin Blessing and Tom Naratil, who lead the bank’s wealth management business. UBS Chairman Axel Weber said earlier this year that Ermotti had indicated he would stay until 2022.

UBS’ tilt towards wealth management is leaving the investment bank with an increasingly smaller share of revenues as it hones in on the needs of rich clients.

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