Swiss bank UBS’s restoration of its European portfolio trading team after most of its members left earlier in the year has allowed the unit to resume full client service, according to Richard Semark, managing director of European client trading and execution at UBS.
“What we have seen in portfolio trading is indicative of what has taken place across the European equities business as a whole: our portfolio trading team is now back to full strength and we are in a position to once again deliver the high quality of service our clients have come to expect from us,” Semark told theTRADEnews.com.
The defection of three members of UBS’s European portfolio trading team to inter-dealer broker ICAP in March left only Mark Dormer, responsible for covering UK portfolio trading clients, at the division. However, UBS has since hired Nigel Coleman, former UK head of equity trading at Credit Suisse Asset Management, and transferred Vernon Willis from its Sydney office to London to fill out the portfolio trading team serving UK clients, which Dormer now heads.
UBS has also put Oliver Hesse, formerly head of portfolio trading at Citi, in charge of serving continental European portfolio trading clients, completing the team.
Dormer and Hesse report to Edward Keen and Makram Fares, UBS’s co-heads of European flow execution, who in turn report to Phil Allison, the bank’s head of European equities trading execution.
The restoration of the European portfolio trading team mirrors UBS’s efforts to rebuild other areas of its equity trading capabilities. Between July 1 and 8 July UBS added six new executives to its pan-European equity sales desk.
UBS is thought to have experienced higher-than-usual staff turnover at the beginning of this year amid financial-crisis-related losses. In February this year, the bank announced a net loss of SFr19.7 billion for the full year of 2008.
The rebuilding of the European portfolio trading team has allowed UBS to market new products and spend more time building and maintaining client relationships, according to Semark. “Now we are back to full strength in portfolio trading we can once again have the most effective relationships with our clients, which allows us to be proactive and understand and respond to what they are looking for.”
In particular, portfolio trading customers are increasingly requiring real-time updates and pre- and post-trade analytics. “Clients have become more sophisticated and demanding in what they need from a portfolio trading desk and UBS has the capability to meet this,” said Semark.