UBS board members gathered in Sydney last year to consider the bank’s fate, they joined 200 clients to drink champagne, eat canapes and mingle among beds of anthurium with purple spadixes jutting into the air.
Bloomberg News reports that Chairman Axel Weber, who had flown to Australia from Zurich for the board’s first-ever meeting there, took the stage at Cafe Sydney overlooking the harbor and lauded Matthew Grounds and his team for their 'unparalleled footprint across the region'.
Grounds, 44, who heads UBS’s Asia-Pacific corporate client-solutions unit, led UBS to the No. 1 position in equity underwriting in the region excluding Japan in 2012, and he’s doing the same this year.
UBS’s Asia-Pacific performance stands in contrast to the rest of the world, where the bank is undergoing radical surgery, discussed at the Sydney meeting, to shutter most debt-trading and cut 10,000 jobs. The firm has almost doubled its market share from last year in advising on mergers and acquisitions in the region, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
'People incorrectly put that down just to me', Grounds said in an interview in a sun-flooded, 16th-floor conference room at UBS’s Australian headquarters in Sydney, citing 20 years of teamwork among his business heads who sometimes just give him a role to come in and play for a deal they’ve already scripted. 'I’m trying to be like Keith Richards'.
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