UBS asset management head retires – Reuters

Reuters – UBS AG (UBSN.VX) said its operations chief Ulrich Koerner would run its asset management arm when its head retires next year.

The Swiss bank said Koerner would hold onto his job as head of Europe, the Middle East and Africa but would no longer be head of operations from January 1, when he replaces John Fraser as chief executive of asset management.

In turn, the operations role will go to finance chief Tom Naratil, who adds it to his existing brief, the bank said.

The move of Koerner, who in 2011 unsuccessfully challenged Sergio Ermotti for the top job at UBS, is the most notable. He has been instrumental in efforts to slash spending at the bank and to simplify and centralize its structure.

The asset management unit attracts far less attention that UBS’s main business, its private bank, or its investment bank. Its asset management arm recorded pretax profit of 570 million Swiss francs last year, when it suffered 13.3 billion francs in outflows of clients funds.

Last October, UBS said it would lay off 10,000 staff and largely withdraw from its fixed-income business by 2015, part of a restructuring to return to the levels of profitability demanded by investors.

The bank had hoped the efforts would give it a return on equity of 15 percent by 2015, but in October said that goal had been thwarted by regulatory demands forcing the bank to hold more capital temporarily.

Fraser, a former Australian Treasury official, remains chairman of asset management, the bank said.

(Reporting By Katharina Bart; editing by Matt Driskill and Tom Pfeiffer)