UBS Has Held Talks With Former CFO Naratil About Possible Return

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(Bloomberg) — Ex-UBS Group AG veteran Tom Naratil has held talks about returning to the bank as part of a broader outreach by chief executive officer Sergio Ermotti, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Ermotti has reached out to a select number of high profile former UBS bankers to gauge their interest in rejoining, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. It’s unclear what role may be under discussion for Naratil, who left the bank just six months ago. In almost four decades at the firm he held a number of senior positions, including chief financial officer and co-head of wealth management.

UBS brought back Ermotti, chairman of Swiss Re AG, as chief executive officer earlier this month to oversee the historic acquisition of Credit Suisse Group AG after its rival almost collapsed. UBS has already tapped strategy consultant Oliver Wyman for help on the integration, reconnecting Ermotti with former adviser Huw van Steenis, vice chair of the firm who left the Swiss bank under former CEO Ralph Hamers.

A spokesman for UBS declined to comment. Naratil wasn’t immediately available to comment. 

Ermotti may enlist longtime allies with investment banking and finance division experience to help on the massive integration effort of Credit Suisse, a firm that had material weaknesses in its financial reporting and brings a money-losing investment bank. UBS CFO Sarah Youngwood has been in her role for less than a year after being brought in by Hamers, while investment bank chief Rob Karofsky has a trading rather than dealmaking background.

UBS named Karofsky sole head of its investment-banking unit in Feb. 2021, elevating its top trader after co-president Piero Novelli accepted a job as chairman of the Euronext NV stock exchange. He joined UBS in 2014, helping drive a digital transformation of the markets unit, an area Hamers had wanted to focus on. 

Naratil stepped down as the joint leader of the key wealth unit and president of UBS’s business in the Americas late last year. As well as previously serving as CFO during Ermotti’s first term, he was also chief risk officer for wealth management in the Americas. 

UBS elevated Iqbal Khan as sole head of the global wealth-management business and appointed Naureen Hassan to succeed Naratil as president of UBS Americas and chief executive officer of UBS Americas Holding LLC.

Read More: UBS Hires Oliver Wyman for Help on Credit Suisse Integration 

Last month, UBS agreed to acquire its local rival in an emergency, government-backed rescue after Credit Suisse lost the confidence of investors, clients and other banks following a string of scandals, losses and client outflows. The combination of the two major banks has the potential to create a wealth-management powerhouse with some $5 trillion in invested assets. 

A strong finance function is a priority for Ermotti to ensure confidence after Credit Suisse’s troubles included problems with its annual report, and because of the challenges ahead, including winding down problem assets and potentially spinning off its Swiss domestic business, according to one of the people.

Read More: Credit Suisse Deal Will Turn UBS Into Powerhouse, JPMorgan Says

Khan, who helped run Credit Suisse’s wealth business for several years before jumping to UBS in 2019, has already been on the road courting his former colleagues to stick around as his bank aims to halt a talent exodus before the deal closes, Bloomberg News reported.

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