UBS hires private banker as investment bank COO

ZURICH Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:22pm GMT

The logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen at their offices in New York December 19, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Burton

The logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen at their offices in New York December 19, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Andrew Burton

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ZURICH (Reuters) - UBS UBSN.VX has named private banker Andre Cronje as the chief operating officer of its investment bank, which is shutting vast swaths of its fixed-income division.

"Andre's experience from investment banking, wealth management and corporate centre, as well as his international perspective, is a major asset as we seek to reposition ourselves," UBS said in a memorandum seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

Zurich-based UBS is cutting staff and winding down its fixed-income business, save for select areas like foreign exchange and precious metals trading, and returning to its private banking roots as it adapts to tough capital rules that make it harder to turn a profit from trading. <ID: nL5E8LU0PK>

Cronje replaces Sam Molinaro, a former Bear Stearns financial chief who was hired as the investment bank's chief operating officer last March.

Molinaro followed investment banking head Carsten Kengeter to a smaller unit of several hundred bankers tasked with winding down the fixed-income activities UBS said in October it will abandon.

Cronje has been head of UBS's flagship private bank in Britain and Jersey since 2008. Before that, he was active in UBS's mergers and acquisitions team and an investment banker at Warburg, a British merchant bank bought by UBS in 1995.

His appointment is a sign UBS will push harder to foster cooperation between its investment bank and private banking arm, which is seen by experts as the "holy grail" of financial services.

The strategy - dubbed "one bank" - is an effort to wring more revenue out of existing clients by linking investment bankers more closely to the wealthiest of private clients, particularly entrepreneurs and business owners.

(Reporting by Katharina Bart; Editing by Mark Potter)