UBS chief wants major overhaul

UBS chief executive Oswald Gruebel will ask the Swiss bank’s board to back plans for a radical overhaul of investment banking under his leadership at a meeting in Singapore, after unauthorised trading caused a $2.3bn (£1.5bn) loss.

The UBS board meets in Singapore today and Thursday for one of the four regular meetings it holds every year and strategic changes to the investment bank are on the agenda, said sources.

The bank’s biggest shareholder, Singapore-based sovereign wealth fund GIC, said it had discussed the alleged fraud with UBS management, adding it was disappointed by the case and urged UBS to take “firm” action to restore confidence.

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GIC, which has a 6.4 per cent stake in UBS and has lost about 77 per cent of its investment in the bank, said it had sought details on how UBS was tightening con-trols.

Mr Gruebel said he would “bear the consequences” of the $2.3bn trading loss that was discovered last week but did not want to quit, adding the affair would influence the future strategy of the investment bank.

UBS is under pressure to scale down, ringfence or even split off its risky investment banking business from its core wealth management unit in order to shield private clients.

But the top executive and another source at the bank said it would be “business as usual” at the meeting and the board would not be rushed into dumping the investment bank.

“The investment bank is critical to our strategy.

“Anyone that thinks you can run a wealth management model without an investment bank doesn’t know the industry,” said the top executive.