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McCann the top-paid exec at UBS

UBS Wealth Management records another solid quarter under ex-Merrill big — but compensation's a hot topic right now for the bank's shareholders

By Andrew Osterland

May 3, 2012 @ 3:58 pm (Updated 4:25 pm) EST

UBS
(Photo: Bloomberg News)

UBS Wealth Management Americas yesterday reported another solid quarter under division honcho Robert McCann. He did extremely well, too.

Mr. McCann, who took over leadership of the bank's wealth management operations in the Americas three years ago, was the highest paid executive at UBS AG last year, hauling in $9.9 million. That's 46% more than the $6.8 million that chief executive Sergio Ermotti was paid.

Of course, compensation is a sore subject right now for UBS. Shareholders vented their anger about executive pay at the Swiss bank's annual shareholder meeting in Zurich on Thursday.

Investors and corporate governance organizations have been objecting to the bank's pay system for senior executives, given its performance over the last several years.

Mr. McCann can at least claim that his corner of the bank is performing. First- quarter earnings reported by the company Thursday showed that wealth management — particularly in the Americas — continues to be a bright spot for the global bank.

Revenue ($1.57 billion) was up 4% from the previous quarter and 8% from the same quarter last year. While the Swiss banking giant reported a drop in profits of 54%, the U.S. wealth management business reported record pre-tax profits of $209 million, up 34% from the previous quarter and 75% over the same quarter last year.

“Our strategy is to be the premier global wealth manager and to focus more of our resources in that business,” said UBS spokeswoman Karina Byrne. “This is another solid quarter for wealth management and it speaks to that strategy.”

The bank added 48 new advisers in the quarter, giving it a total of 7,015. Invested assets per adviser rose 6% to $115 million — tops among the wirehouses. Revenue per adviser was also up 3% to $897,000. The division took in $4.6 billion in net new money during the quarter.

The wealth management numbers continue to improve and likely are the reason behind a 2% jump in UBS share prices Thursday. But with the stock down about 35% in the last year, they may not be enough to satisfy angry shareholders.