'There used to be this moat that created a great business model for Swiss banks - it’s gone', said Friedman, who was hired into the newly-created CIO position by former UBS Chief Executive Officer Oswald Gruebel in March 2011. 'The core of this place is wealth management. So unless we outperform as investment managers, the business model has to come up with something new'.
Bloomberg reports that Friedman, 41, aims to build an investment management business that’s 'better than any other' for the $1.58 trillion of assets that wealthy clients entrusted UBS, he said in an interview at the bank’s headquarters in Zurich. Investment performance is 'a deep moat - that’s a sustainable moat if you build it right', he said.
He is relying on the support of 900 analysts across UBS divisions, intelligence from billionaires and even recommendations from rivals to achieve this goal, and the bank, which saw a 28 percent drop in assets under management since the end of 2007, needs him to succeed. While his efforts have yet to boost money-management revenue, Friedman said he hopes some of his most successful calls, such as last October’s advice to buy U.S. junk bonds, will help build the trust of clients spooked by Europe’s debt crisis.
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