UBS sets sights on Asia-Pacific

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 January, 2011, 12:00am

With two members of its group executive board located in Hong Kong, Swiss financial giant UBS plans to step up its game in the Asia-Pacific, saying it would double its revenues in the region within three to five years.

It also plans for Asia to contribute a full third of UBS Group revenues in the long term.

Doubling revenues in the Asia-Pacific means contributions from the region will increase from the mid teens to about 25 per cent, said Yoon Chi-won, co-chairman and chief executive of UBS Asia Pacific.

Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, former co-chief executive of UBS investment bank, joined forces with Yoon in November to act as co-chairman and chief executive of UBS Asia Pacific.

'If you take a look across the competitive landscape, there are few companies that have two executive board members sitting in Asia and it speaks volumes about our commitment to the region,' Yoon said.

After assets write-downs of more than US$41 billion, the bank laid off about 100 staff in Hong Kong in 2009, as part of its plan to cut more than 10 per cent of its global workforce that year.

But now as markets rallied, especially in Asia, UBS said it saw competition picking up in the region.

'It is not surprising that we, and unfortunately many others, are increasing investment and footprint in this region,' Wilmot-Sitwell said.

'However we are in an advantageous position in helping our clients from those who only now are entering the market and attempting to build their business off of a much lower base.'

UBS has said the challenge is finding talent, especially for its expansion in China. China had a large number of well-educated, highly motivated young professionals, but it lacked middle managers with five to 10 years of experience, Yoon said.