Yesterday, a new powerbase became clear within UBS’s private banking division, the country’s number one bank.
A clan from Libanon and Syria. It consists of two top forces, which will soon dominate all of Europe.
And it also ends a power clash with consequences: Switzerland and the Swiss lose, Frankfurt and globalists win.
Every region except England and Switzerland will be centrally controlled by Frankfurt. For example Germans domiciled in Germany, who were previously catered to by Swiss offices are now controlled under the supervision of the Frankfurt CEO.
Switzerland has therefore converted into a mainly administrative center. Meanwhile, in its Frankfurt tower where UBS started a huge private banking platform last autumn, the music plays loudly.
Hundreds of private bankers may need to move from Zurich to Frankfurt within the coming years. Hence this will be the destiny for German and other EU customers, whose assets are currently booked on the main Swiss platform.
Switzerland and Zurich are rapidly losing strategic importance within UBS – and no one is crying over it.
As usual, this situation is about personalities. In this case an important clan boss, a powerhouse named Paul Raphael.
Raphael was brought into UBS by Oswald Grübel. According to one insider, Raphael is recognized for appraisals – mainly due to his glamorous appearances.
Under Raphael, a banker from nearby Syria has also had a stellar career growth. Banker Ali Janoudi becomes the head of a new super area within the large region of his boss.
Ali Janoudi, according to one internal source has built a large department of people who are gifted at producing one thing: costs.
The restructuring within UBS’s Wealth Management division was reported yesterday by Bloomberg and Reuters news agencies. The bank’s media people had provided the two news agencies appropriate internal memos, leading to PR trickery.
Bloomberg wrote of Raphael’s area as the unit that had made “the second-biggest growth of invested assets in the first quarter”.
One insider, commenting on this, suggests that instead of the supposedly proud growth number, there is a massive bloated overstatement.
What is clear is that the Arab team has achieved a unique position within UBS and its private banking division through the major reconfiguration of the European business.
Raphael and his buddy Janoudi now dominate Wealth Management. Because of the reshaping, these two bankers have control of Europe.
And apart from Europe, there is virtually nothing left in the division. Although Asia is a separate reporting line, this region being ruled by a powerful CEO woman acts on its own. Zurich cannot pretend to run it.
And Americas, where UBS manages by far the most private banking assets compared to its total, had previously completely been decoupled from the rest of the private banking unit. WMA, as the division is called, is a separate division.
The perceived performances of current US boss Tom Naratil and his predecessor are positive. After its deep fall from grace 10 years ago, UBS has once again become a major player in private banking in the US.
Conversely, the future of Paul Raphael, the strong man of UBS in Europe seems dependent on excessive costs, powerplays and bureaucracy.
And when problems deep down in the hierarchy arise, as is the case with burnouts in Latin America’s affluent team, employees wait endlessly for support from their superheads.
This is all part of a plan. Raphael’s boss is Jürg Zeltner. This man is currently giving sweet media interviews. Otherwise he keeps himself out of the way. The future dream goal of Zeltner is to make the leap to the top – and become the next CEO of UBS.
According to insiders, Zeltner makes this possibly by surrounding himself by weak people.
No one to challenge him, so that when the opportunity arises, no one would raise questions, making this last critical career jump potentially possible.