UBS Eases Out Insurance Sales Head, Shuffles Los Angeles Managers

25 Jan    Investing News

The job cuts at UBS Group AG’s Global Wealth Management division are seeping into the U.S. wealth business.

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The Swiss bank has said that the cuts of about 2%, or 500, across its core businesses servicing the very wealthy, would be focused in Europe, but Patricia Landau, head of insurance sales, products and strategies in the U.S., lost her position last week, according to sources familiar with the move.

Landau, who joined UBS in May 2013 from Morgan Stanley, was responsible for helping the firm’s roughly 6,000 U.S. advisors promote a range of products from long-term care to property insurance to their customers, and to drive “new assets under management,” according to her LinkedIn profile.

UBS has no plans to replace her, the sources said.

Landau, who was based in UBS’s headquarters in Weehawken, N.J., did not return requests for comment.

In an internal memo to global wealth employees earlier this month, division coheads Iqbal Khan and Tom Naratil indicated that the cuts were part of a broader effort to eliminate bureaucratic layers and increase management accountability by decentralizing reporting and bringing advisors closer to senior managers across bank divisions.

The changes eliminated the position of Paula Polito, a U.S. brokerage veteran who was global client strategy officer and who now has the titular role of vice chair of global wealth management.

Private wealth management market heads who previously reported into global head Joe Stadler now report into local business unit heads, the memo said, a model that UBS has used in the U.S. under private wealth regional head John Mathews. He continues in that role.

The efficiency drive has affected branch and complex managers in the U.S., as UBS seeks to dam exits by experienced brokers and reverse an outflow of client money that has eroded profit in the Americas.

The bank shuttered three U.S. sales divisions last month, relocating or dismissing some field managers and expanding the domain of others.  More shifts at the branch and complex levels have been announced internally in recent weeks.

In California, Jaron Singletary confirmed on Friday that he has been promoted to head the six-branch West Los Angeles Market. Singletary, who will continue as branch manager of the firm’s Century City office, replaces Michael L. Goldfader.

The Beverly Hills branch that Goldfader directly managed has been shifted to Kreg Pearless, who had been running a private wealth branch in Houston. Pearless has spent all but one year of his 12-year brokerage career at UBS, according to BrokerCheck.

Singletary, who also has responsibility for  managers in Encino, Bakersfield, Santa Barbara and Westlake, is a UBS lifer who started as an intern in 2001. He served as an advisor and in several business development roles prior to becoming a branch manager in Santa Barbara in 2012.

On a call discussing earnings on Tuesday, UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti emphasized that the U.S. division was “absolutely critical” to the Swiss bank’s core wealth franchise. It and other regions will succeed by selling more investment, banking, financial products and corporate services to $10-million-and-up clients, the bank’s fastest-growing customer sector, he said.

As part of that effort, former private banking chief Stadler is now running the bank’s global family office, with a mandate to more than double its client roster to 1,500 families. “Our aim is to become the ‘House Bank’ for all these clients with the greatest share of wallet by providing them with coverage, opportunities and execution they cannot get anywhere else,” Khan and Naratil wrote in their memo.

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