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Report: UBS to split EMEA wealth management unit into 3 as part of revamp

UBS Group AG is splitting its wealth management business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa into three as part of the restructuring of its private banking business, Bloomberg News reported, citing an internal memo.

Christl Novakovic, currently head of EMEA wealth management, will be left in charge of Western Europe while maintaining her role as CEO of UBS Europe SE. Caroline Kuhnert will head central and eastern Europe while the Middle East and Africa regions will be run by Ali Janoudi.

The Zurich-based bank said the wealth management split will allow it to double its client numbers per region. The move is expected to result in up to 500 job losses, according to the Jan. 7 report.

The change follows a decision to break up UBS' ultrahigh-net-worth unit weeks after Iqbal Khan became wealth management co-head alongside Tom Naratil. The wider revamp will eliminate three levels of management globally while accelerating the group's ability to lend to wealthy clients, the memo stated, adding that UBS' goal is to cut time-consuming negotiations between wealth managers and the investment bank, as well as to speed up loan approvals.

Other changes include global client coverage head Paula Polito taking on an advisory role as divisional vice chair for global wealth management. Chicco di Stasi and Patrick Grob will lead structuring and origination outside of the Americas and distribution outside of the Americas, respectively, for global wealth management, while Paul Crisci is tasked with drawing up a private-markets strategy that will be implemented across UBS, Bloomberg added.