UBS Taps Credit Suisse Banker Sharma to Boost Deals for Rich

UBS Group AG hired top wealth banker Desh Sharma from Credit Suisse Group AG to help expand loans and sophisticated financings for its richest clients.

Sharma, who worked with Credit Suisse’s wealthiest clients and non-resident Indians out of Dubai, will join UBS’s global family office unit to start a team serving rich entrepreneurs, according to people familiar with the matter. Sharma will start Jan. 4 and head corporate and institutional clients at the family office unit, reporting to Joe Stadler, UBS said in a memo seen by Bloomberg and confirmed by a spokesperson.

Sharma is bringing a team of four other bankers with him to UBS, the memo said, adding to a series of hires the lender made from its cross-town rival as it seeks to expand lending to wealthy entrepreneurs. UBS, which started the push two years ago, reinforced the strategy last year by hiring Iqbal Khan, who had developed a similar approach in his former role as head of Credit Suisse’s international wealth-management unit.

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Sharma’s team will primarily serve the existing 2,000 clients in the global family office unit and focus on originating deals, syndicating structures and providing financing and lending for the unit’s most important clients. It will work with teams in the investment bank and the asset management unit.

Earlier this year, UBS hired Khan’s former Credit Suisse colleague Remi Mennesson to lead a new global financing team focused on increasing collaboration between the bank’s wealth management and investment banking units. Mennesson’s team focuses on corporate derivatives and structured solutions, lending against more complex and less liquid forms of collateral and financing transactions for the bank’s wealthiest customers.

In Asia, UBS recruited Conrad Huber this year to lead its newly-formed unified global capital markets team in the region. That hire, too, was part of a plan to increase collaboration between the wealth and investment-banking units and eliminate time-consuming negotiations.

So far this year, Switzerland’s largest bank has issued about $18 billion in net new loans to wealthy clients at the private-banking unit, bringing it within striking distance of a 2021 target of $20 billion to $30 billion annually.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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