Swiss bank UBS is reorganising its wealth business, by moving its global financial intermediaries (GFIM) business – currently under Europe WM – into the investment products and services (IPS) unit.

The world's biggest wealth manager outlined the move and the motivation behind it late last week in an internal announcement seen by AsianInvestor. It will be effective from May 1 and result in various organisational changes to the IPS unit, including a new head of the Asia-Pacific business. 

The aim is to achieve more potential synergies from linking GFIM more closely with the product platform. The move also supports IPS’s strategy to create additional revenue streams by selling advice, solutions and platforms to third parties on a white-label or service basis.

This continues a trend of wealth management businesses being restructured, with financial firms under pressure to cut costs and boost profitability. Canadian insurer Manulife announced the integration of its asset management and wealth units in February, and banks such as Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank have made similar moves in recent years. 

At UBS, Stefano Veri, who recently became head of GFIM, will now report to Mike Stewart, head of IPS, and become a member of the IPS management committee. And all the IPS regional heads will now have their roles expanded to include sales. As such, they will have additional reporting lines to the market heads.

Matthew Rule, currently head of Asia-Pacific client coverage, will become Asia-Pacific head of IPS and sales. Based in Hong Kong, he will take over the role from Vito Schiro, who will be focusing solely on the capital markets and banking products unit. The latter division is having its distribution activities restructured to provide cross-asset-class coverage.

Emmanuel Bucaille will step down from his role as head of IPS for global emerging markets, but will stay in the post until UBS names a successor.

There will be several other organisational changes in the IPS division, across distribution, investment sourcing and product/service offering infrastructure. These aim to clarify roles and responsibilities on the IPS management committee and support WM’s strategic priorities, said the bank.

UBS will create a new customised advisory division, to be headed by Veri. This will combine the active portfolio advisory and direct advisory to client offerings with GFIM into one unit.

As mentioned, the bank will also restructure the distribution of the capital markets and banking products (formerly advisory solutions) division.

Moreover, UBS said it will strengthen its distribution management team, with the aim of ensuring consistency in sales management, pricing, content packaging and metrics across offerings and regions. Thomas Huber will lead the unit, which will incorporate business management for IPS.

The bank will also create a single sales team for under-contract solutions, headed by Daniel Imhof, global head of mandate specialists for investment management. The team will comprise IM mandate specialists, UBS Advice sales and investment fund distribution.

In addition, investment specialists will join sales and distribution from the markets division.

In respect of product sourcing, UBS will create a new UHNW and alternative investments unit to better support the needs of ultra-high-net-worth clients in this area. It will be headed by Stewart on an interim basis. The institutional solutions group will also contribute alternatives expertise to this unit.

Turning to architecture and infrastructure, there will be a new dedicated central function within IPS to support the WM advisory process. Headed by Tom Stokes, this team will work closely with the chief investment office and the WM COO team run by Dirk Klee.

UBS will also create a dedicated platform and business process outsourcing team to oversee initiatives around the white-labelling of products. It will be led by Roger Anerella, previously global head of securities execution for the investment bank. He will help reshape IPS as a business by introducing a product profitability framework and developing an IPS profit-and-loss model. He will also coordinate IPS’s activities in the Americas.

Finally, UBS is establishing an IPS operating office, to be headed by Josef Fehr. It will define and implement IPS’s operating model and business architecture in line with WM’s strategic objectives and will work closely with the WM COO.

UBS could not be reached for further comment on the changes by press time.