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With regards to this trend, how important do you consider the U.S. market for UBS, also in comparison to the emerging markets in Asia as well as the Middle East? The U.S. market is important to us. We have roughly 23,000 employees in the United States; it is still the biggest fee-paying market in the world by far because it is the biggest economy in the world. We have a huge wealth management operation there. Right now, we are in the process of getting back to industry-standard profitability. The U.S. is clearly the biggest market in the world for investment banking, so it is very important to be there. There are other regions, let us call them “growth regions,” where we will clearly invest going forward, but everybody else is doing that as well. I would not call the countries in Asia emerging markets – We should probably find a new term for them. They will probably have the biggest growth rates and there are huge opportunities on the banking side.

these periods – their “prices” are actually going up. Recently, we’ve had a lot of people going into trading and hedge funds. We have a shortage of good managers in the industry – of people who understand the whole business, not just one aspect of it, and who, at the same time, are capable of managing a big organization. This is something you cannot learn at university. It will take you a few years in the real world to understand how all the operations work. You have to learn about all the intricacies of an organization as well as the problems that an organization can create for itself. As of today, most of the students graduating from business schools would like to start a career in investment banking or private equity. Is this the best approach to start a career? That would be the right approach if you want to be a specialist. But, as a specialist, you are very vulnerable. If you only learn to operate in one area, you are totally

“As long as we have money, you will see everything going through a bank – how we behave, what we think, and how we react in stressful situations”. With the current restructuring process, where do you see the core competencies of UBS five years from today? Our core competency is very clear. It’s wealth management. In the future, it will remain at the core of the bank. We also have investment banking and asset management. Because of all the continuously changing regulations and all these new laws, banking is really going back to a clientserving industry, with less proprietary trading than we have seen up until recently. If the trend we have seen so far continues, it would only be a question of time until some things become problematic again. That is clearly what governments and politicians want to avoid. Do you expect major changes in the way people in the banking industry are compensated? Yes, clearly. Compensation was reduced because the industry is enormously sensitive to earnings. But, there are people who do understand how markets can be profitable in volatile times, and their “prices” remain unchanged. The same is true for managers who can manage through


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dependent on how this area develops. Currently, private equity is not necessarily a booming market – quite the contrary. If you really want to go into banking, then I would suggest that you work in all sections of a bank and that you try to understand each of these sections and what is done there, individually – from retail banking to corporate banking, to asset management, investment banking as well as private banking. Banking really gives you a picture of what people are doing. As long as we have money, you will see everything going through a bank – how we behave, what we think, how we react in stressful situations. That is what makes banking so interesting; it’s the most fascinating job because in a way, it’s our daily life. If you could pass on one piece of advice to all the students reading this magazine, what advice would that be? Obviously I have a specific perspective – I have been in banking since I was nineteen and from where I sit the most interesting jobs are in banking, and as an industry we are also pretty lucky that over the long term it pays well! iBR

International Business Review - Spring 2010  

The Spring 2010 edition of the IBR.