Bob McCann Tries To Restore Morale At UBS As Year-End Bonus Hopes Evaporate

Thursday, September 22, 2011 23:50
Bob McCann Tries To Restore Morale At UBS As Year-End Bonus Hopes Evaporate

Memos are apparently flying fast and furious at UBS as Bob McCann tries to keep his hard-won reps from scattering in the wake of the bank's $2 billion trading loss.

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McCann seems to have sent at least two notes out to rally the members of the UBS Americas wealth management unit.


The first came on September 15, mere hours after UBS confessed that a rogue trader had cost it billions -- enough to likely destroy its profits for the quarter and raise questions about the firm's bonus payouts.


At the time, McCann highlighted the basics. UBS was solvent, he said. The world-class bank wasn't going away.


A few days later, he came back with more details


He admits that it's "frustrating" to see a screw-up on the investment banking side destroy billions of dollars of hard work from the brokers.


Interestingly, he underlines the fact that the wealth management unit is deeply profitable while the rest of the company is now definitely struggling.


That's a good move for morale, which recruiters are already picking at in their eagerness to see even recently placed UBS advisors back in play.


But it also gets me thinking. McCann has generally quashed speculation that UBS would decide to sell the wealth management unit to concentrate on its more white-glove European business.


This opens up the argument from the other side. If suddenly the U.S. unit is the star of the show, maybe it could do better on its own, or in partnership with a U.S. bank?

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