Old home week as ex-Merrill execs join McCann on UBS super committee

Six-member team charged with retaking market share in the U.S.

Apr 2, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

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((Photo: Bloomberg News))

UBS AG Americas Chief Executive Officer Robert McCann named three former Merrill Lynch & Co. colleagues to help reverse a three-year slide in the Swiss bank's U.S. market share.

Michael Stewart, Robert Mulholland and Brian Hull, who already work for Zurich-based UBS, will join a six-member executive committee led by McCann, the CEO wrote in a staff memo scheduled for distribution today. The panel includes Samuel Molinaro, an ex-Bear Stearns Cos. chief financial officer who joined UBS last month, and Shawn Lytle, head of money management in the Americas.

McCann, 54, is the ex-Merrill brokerage chief who helped restore profit at UBS's U.S. retail brokerage since joining in 2009. He's turning his attention to the investment bank after UBS, Switzerland's biggest lender, suffered a $2.3 billion loss from unauthorized trading. The firm has said its trading and mergers-advisory franchise should be simpler, with more consistent profit and less need for capital.

“The long-term prospects for our business far outweigh any short-term fixes we need to make,” McCann said in the memo. “The EC will get to work immediately.” The memo's authenticity was confirmed by Karina Byrne, a spokeswoman.

UBS Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti, 51, another former Merrill banker, will take part in an “Americas Town Hall” meeting tomorrow with employees, according to the memo.

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McCann's goals include “eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy that is impeding our ability to adapt to changing markets,” he wrote.

Stewart, 43, hired from Bank of America Corp. (BAC) in July to be co-head of global equities, became the sole head in October when his co-heads, Francois Gouws and Yassine Bouhara, resigned in the wake of the unauthorized trading loss.

Mulholland, 59, head of wealth management and investment solutions, and Hull, 52, who's head of strategic clients and partnerships, were hired by McCann in November 2009.

Molinaro, 54, was hired as the UBS investment bank's chief operating officer. Lytle has been with UBS since 2002, when he joined from JPMorgan Chase & Co., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

McCann was promoted in December to oversee all of the bank's operations in the region after leading the U.S. retail brokerage to a pretax profit in 2011. Pretax income in the Wealth Management Americas unit was 504 million Swiss francs, compared with a 2010 loss of 130 million. Clients added a net 12.1 billion Swiss francs of new money to their accounts last year, following outflows of 6.1 billion Swiss francs in 2010.

Ranking Declines

The U.S. investment bank, which includes trading and investment banking as well as mergers advice and underwriting, didn't fare as well. Among advisers on U.S. mergers and acquisitions, UBS tumbled last year to 10th with a 10 percent market share, from eighth and a 13 percent share in 2010. In 2008, the bank ranked sixth with an 18 percent market share.

McCann's role as regional CEO returns him to the trading and investment-banking side of Wall Street after spending eight years in retail brokerage.

He started his 26-year career at Merrill in 1982 as an associate in equity sales and trading, rising by the late 1990s to run the equities division. In the early 2000s, as Merrill faced allegations over misleading stock reports, he was put in charge of the firm's research division. In 2003, he moved to the brokerage side and in 2005 was named president of global wealth management by then-CEO Stan O'Neal.

Merrill Lynch almost collapsed in late 2008 because of bad bets on subprime mortgages made under O'Neal, and the firm had to sell itself to Bank of America McCann announced his resignation on Jan. 5, 2009, four days after the merger was completed. UBS needed its own bailout in 2008 from the Swiss government.

At the time of his departure, Merrill Lynch's retail brokerage had about 16,090 financial advisers -- more than double the 6,697 U.S. advisers at UBS as of Dec. 31.

--Bloomberg News--

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