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Coordinates: 47 ° 22 '19.1 "  N , 8 ° 32' 9.4"  E ; CH1903:  682878  /  247373

  UBS Group AG
Country SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
Seat Zurich
legal form Stock corporation (AG)
ISIN CH0244767585
IID 230
founding 1862 as a bank in Winterthur

1872 as the Basel Bankers Association

Business dataTemplate: Infobox credit institute / maintenance / data out of dateTemplate: Infobox credit institute / maintenance / year missing
Total assets US $ 958,489 billion
Employee 66,888
Corporate management

Sergio Ermotti
( CEO )
Axel A. Weber
( Chairman of the Board of Directors )

The UBS Group AG is a Swiss major bank based in Zurich . It is one of the world's largest asset managers . Originally the name was the acronym from French Union de Banques Suisses or Italian Unione di Banche Svizzere , later also English Union Bank of Switzerland . Today, UBS is officially used as a proper name without any further meaning (see also the history section ).

The bank is part of the group of 30 big banks that the Financial Stability Board (FSB) as systemically important financial institutions ( systemically important financial institution were classified). It is therefore subject to special monitoring and stricter requirements for the endowment with equity . The supervisory function is carried out by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).

Group overview

In 2017, UBS was represented in 52 countries and in all major financial centers with over 1,000 branches , including 9 branches in Germany , 2 in Austria and over 300 in Switzerland . The number of people employed by the Group at the end of 2018 was 66,888 worldwide, including around 31% in North and Latin America , 32% in Switzerland, 19% in the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and a further 18% in the Asia-Pacific region .

At the end of 2018, UBS had assets under management of around US $ 3,101 billion. UBS is the world's largest asset manager for private assets. UBS Group AG is a stock corporation under Swiss law, its shares are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) listed .


UBS Group AG was founded on June 10, 2014 as a holding company of the UBS Group in Switzerland in the form of a stock corporation under Swiss law and entered in the commercial register of the Canton of Zurich . UBS Group AG has its headquarters in Zurich, which was renovated in 2018, and its shares have the ISIN CH0244767585. The primary operational unit of the group is currently UBS AG, which was founded in 1978 and in the commercial register of the cantons Basel City (28 February 1978) and Zurich (13 February 1998) registered limited company with its registered offices in Basel and Zurich. Neither the corporate divisions of UBS AG nor the Corporate Center are legally independent units, but rather conduct their business activities through the global branches of the parent company . In addition, where necessary or desirable, business is also carried out through local subsidiaries .

As part of the restructuring measures, no changes were intended in the Board of Directors or in the management of UBS. The main purpose of setting up a group holding company was to improve the resolvability of the group with a view to the Swiss requirements for size confidence ( too-big-to-fail requirements) and the respectively applicable requirements in other countries in which the group Doing business, perform. Structures should be created that would allow systemically important parts to continue in the event of a crisis and problematic businesses to be split off. The restructuring was carried out through a share swap . As of December 31, 2014, UBS Group AG acquired 96.68% of the shares in UBS AG. Upon completion of the transaction, UBS Group AG became the holding company of UBS AG and its three subsidiaries in Switzerland , Great Britain and the United States . As part of a squeeze-out procedure that was concluded in the second half of 2015, UBS Group AG applied for a declaration of invalidity, which was approved by the Commercial Court of the Canton of Zurich. Thereafter, the shares of the remaining minority shareholders of UBS AG were automatically exchanged for the shares of UBS Group AG, and UBS Group AG thus became 100% owner of UBS AG.

The shares of UBS Group AG are listed on the since November 28, 2014 SIX Swiss Exchange ( ticker symbol : UBSG) listed and have been used for the same day and on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: UBS) regularly traded. On January 17, 2015, the shares of UBS AG were delisted from the NYSE. After the squeeze-out procedure was completed, the shares in UBS AG were also delisted from SIX.

In addition to the establishment of a new holding company, the following changes were made:

  • In consultation with the British and Swiss supervisory authorities , the business and operating model for UBS Limited was revised, with the result that UBS Limited has to bear and will continue to bear the risks and opportunities of its business activities to a greater extent. The group has increased the capitalization of UBS Limited accordingly.
  • In the US, the group has implemented the new rules for foreign banks (announced by the Federal Reserve Board in Sections 165 and 166 of the Dodd-Frank ). As of July 1, 2016, all US subsidiaries of UBS were combined under UBS Americas Holding LLC as an intermediate holding company, which became the owner of the entire business in the USA with the exception of the US branches of UBS AG.
  • In the course of 2016, most of the operating subsidiaries were transferred from Asset Management to UBS Asset Management AG. Wealth management subsidiaries in Italy , Luxembourg (including branches in Denmark , Austria and Sweden ), the Netherlands and Spain with UBS Deutschland AG, renamed UBS Europe SE to create a new European legal entity that has its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main (Germany).
  • In 2016, UBS Group Funding (Switzerland) AG - a wholly-owned direct subsidiary of UBS Group AG - was founded with the purpose of future issuance of loss-absorbing additional tier 1 capital instruments and unsubordinated unsecured debt instruments .

Regulatory requirements and other external developments, including the UK's expected exit from the EU , could lead to further changes to the Group's legal structure, such as the transfer of operating subsidiaries of UBS to direct subsidiaries of UBS Group AG, the further consolidation of operating subsidiaries in the EU as well as adjustments regarding the location of products and services. These structural changes are being discussed with  FINMA and other regulatory supervisory authorities  .

Corporate management

The CEO of UBS Group AG is Sergio Ermotti , who succeeded Oswald Grübel . The Chairman of the Board of Directors has been Axel A. Weber , who replaced Kaspar Villiger , since May 2012 . Nikolaus Senn was Honorary President from 1996 until his death in 2014 .

Board of Directors

Board of Directors of UBS Group AG
Surname Position and Committees
Axel A. Weber Chairman of the Board of Directors / Chairman of the Corporate Culture and Responsibility Committee / Chairman of the Governance and Nominating Committee
Michel Demaré Independent Vice President / Member of the Audit Committee / Member of the Compensation Committee / Member of the Governance and Nominating Committee
David Sidwell Senior Independent Director / Chairman of the Risk Committee / Member of the Governance and Nominating Committee
Jeremy Anderson Chairman of the Audit Committee / member of the Corporate Culture and Responsibility Committee
Reto Francioni Member of the Corporate Culture and Responsibility Committee / Member of the Risk Committee
Ann F. Godbehere Chair of the Compensation Committee / member of the Audit Committee
Fred Hu Member of the Board of Directors
Julie G. Richardson Member of the Compensation Committee / Member of the Risk Committee
Isabelle Romy Member of the Audit Committee / Member of the Governance and Nominating Committee
Robert W. Scully Member of the Risk Committee
Beatrice Weder di Mauro Member of the Audit Committee / Member of the Corporate Culture and Responsibility Committee
Dieter Wemmer Member of the Compensation Committee / Member of the Risk Committee
Markus Baumann Secretary General
Source (as of January 31, 2019)

Group management

Group Management UBS Group AG
Surname Position and function
Sergio Ermotti Group Chief Executive Officer
Iqbal Khan Co-President Global Wealth Management
Tom Naratil Co-President Global Wealth Management
Christian Bluhm Group Chief Risk Officer
Markus Diethelm Group General Counsel
Kirt Gardner Group Chief Financial Officer
Sabine Keller-Busse Group Chief Operating Officer and President UBS Europe, Middle East and Africa
Suni Harford President Asset Management
Axel P. Lehmann President Personal & Corporate Banking and President UBS Switzerland
Piero Novelli Co-President Investment Bank
Robert Karofsky Co-President Investment Bank
Edmund Koh President UBS Asia Pacific
Markus Ronner Head of Group Compliance, Regulatory and Governance
Source (as of February 10, 2020)


UBS offers over 300 places for apprentices and interns in Switzerland every year , with the bank taking on an average of 70 percent of those who have completed their apprenticeships by 2009. Their number was reduced to 50% for the first time in 2009, but at the same time positions were created in an internal support program for highly qualified graduates and fixed-term employment contracts for nine months were introduced. There are also worldwide talent development programs for the best apprenticeship graduates and university graduates, including the Master’s course introduced in 2014 , which is offered in cooperation with the University of Bern in Switzerland and the University of Rochester in Singapore .

Business areas

UBS's private and corporate customer business in Switzerland has a market share of between a quarter and a third , depending on the customer segment . At the end of 2017, UBS had a market share of around 80% of assets in Switzerland, served a third of households , wealthy private individuals and pension funds , provided banking and securities services for over 120,000 corporate clients and around 80% of banks domiciled in Switzerland. The operational structure of the group is divided into Corporate Center and four divisions: Global Wealth Management , Personal & Corporate Banking, Asset Management and Investment Bank .

Global wealth management

In the Global Wealth Management division , UBS managed assets of US $ 2,257 billion at the end of 2018 and was present in more than 45 countries with around 190 branches . At the end of 2018, this area employed 23,600 people. This division offers the company's entire range of services to wealthy private clients worldwide, from comprehensive financial services to investment advisory services.

UBS's global wealth management business in North and South America consists of the US and Canadian wealth management businesses as well as the international business in the USA. UBS Wealth Management USA is an offshoot of the former Paine Webber brokerage business. The business was initially renamed UBS Paine Webber in March 2001 after the takeover by UBS. The division offers fully integrated wealth management solutions for very wealthy and high net worth clients. UBS was named “Best Bank for Wealth Management in North America” at the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2017. UBS's main competitors in this division are Bank of America , Credit Suisse , Morgan Stanley , JP Morgan Chase , Wells Fargo and Charles Schwab .

Personal & Corporate Banking

The Personal & Corporate Banking division offers its customers access to comprehensive financial products and services and is a central component of the UBS Switzerland universal banking model , as this division occupies a leading position in Switzerland for private, corporate and institutional customers . The distribution network for private customers and companies not only includes customer service centers, but also 1,250 ATMs and self-service terminals as well as digital banking services. UBS serves over 85% of the 1,000 largest Swiss companies and 85% of the banks based in Switzerland. In 2015, 2017 and 2018, the international financial magazine Euromoney named UBS “Best Domestic Cash Manager Switzerland”. As of December 31, 2018, this division had a loan portfolio of US $ 131 billion and employed 5,183 people.

In 2018, for the first time, more transactions were recorded in mobile banking than in e-banking . UBS relies on V Pay and Maestro for debit cards, and Apple Pay , Google Pay , Samsung Pay and Twint for mobile payment . As part of the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) , UBS plans to use the SIX Open Banking Hub to enable third-party providers to access bank account data. UBS's main competitor in this line of business is Credit Suisse .

Asset management

The Asset Management division is UBS's asset manager for institutional and private clients as well as financial intermediaries . At the end of 2018 , assets under management totaled US $ 781 billion. 3,600 people were employed in this division. This makes UBS Asset Management the largest investment fund manager in Switzerland and one of the largest hedge fund and real estate investment managers worldwide. Its main offices are in Chicago , Frankfurt am Main , Hartford , Hong Kong , London , New York City , Paris , Singapore , Sydney , Tokyo and Zurich . The offering extends to all major traditional and alternative asset classes , with the Fund Management Services unit, for example, providing services for both traditional and alternative investment funds . In February 2017, UBS Group AG and Northern Trust Corporation announced an agreement to take over the fund management units of UBS Asset Management in Luxembourg and Switzerland. This acquisition will facilitate the expansion of Northern Trust Corporation into these two countries and make the American company the largest fund administrator in the local markets and one of the top ten global players in the industry. At the end of the transaction, which is expected in the second half of 2017, the American company will manage a total of CHF 420 billion. UBS Asset Management will continue to provide fund management, white labeling and agency services to its clients. UBS's main competitors in this business are BlackRock , Vanguard Group , State Street Global Advisers (SSGA) and Fidelity Investments .

Investment bank

The Investment Bank division consists of two business units, Corporate Client Solutions and Investor Client Services , and offers comprehensive access to the global capital markets by providing this division with advisory and processing services as well as a wide range of innovative services for companies, institutional clients and wealth management clients Offers financial solutions. The investment bank's participation in capital market transactions with a broad range of securities includes sales , trading and market making . As of the end of 2018, UBS had 5,205 employees in this business area in over 35 countries, with main offices in Hong Kong , London , New York City , Singapore , Sydney , Tokyo and Zurich . In particular, UBS's main competitors in this business are Goldman Sachs , JPMorgan Chase and Merrill Lynch .

Corporate Center

The Corporate Center is divided into two units: Corporate Center - Core Functions and Corporate Center - Non-Core and Legacy Portfolio . The first unit provides control services for the entire group and fulfills all logistics and support functions . As of January 1, 2015, Corporate Center - Core Functions was split into two new areas: Corporate Center - Services and Corporate Center - Group Asset and Liability Management (Group ALM). The second unit takes over the non-core business and the legacy positions that belonged to the investment bank before the restructuring. As of the end of December 2018, UBS employed 30,364 people in over 35 countries across this business area, with main offices in Hong Kong , London , New York City , Singapore , Sydney , Tokyo and Zurich , which were previously part of the Investment Bank. In Switzerland, service centers have been opened in Schaffhausen , Manno and Biel in recent years . a. the rents and wage costs are lower than at Paradeplatz in Zurich.


Over the course of history, the group was formed from 300 bank mergers and acquisitions. The founding of the bank in Winterthur in April 1862 is considered the founding date of UBS. Today's UBS AG was created in June 1998 from the merger of the Schweizerische Bankgesellschaft (SBG, abbreviated to UBS in French and Italian) with its headquarters in Zurich and the Swiss Bank Association (SBV) with its headquarters in Basel. The abbreviation was adopted from the Swiss Bank Corporation and the key logo from the Swiss Bank Corporation.

Swiss Bank Corporation (SBG), 1862–1998

Building of Schröder, Münchmeyer, Hengst & Co. as a subsidiary of UBS in Offenbach

In 1912, the bank in Winterthur , which was founded in 1862, was active in the lending business and in railway financing, and the Toggenburger Bank , which was founded in Lichtensteig in 1863 and was active as a commercial and central bank , merged to form the Swiss Bank Corporation (SBG; Union de Banques Suisses, Unione di Banche Svizzere, Union Bank of Switzerland). After the First World War , SBG expanded domestically through several takeovers and branch openings throughout Switzerland. To an upswing also wore the foreign lending in Germany and Eastern Europe as well as the participation in issues of foreign bonds at. Thanks to high reserves built up during this time, the world economic crisis and the Second World War were overcome, even if the balance sheet total and capital fell by around half.

For a long time, the UBS had several offices. It was not until 1918 that the central accounting department and in 1945 the headquarters were moved to Zurich , and the troubled Eidgenössische Bank was taken over. After 1945, the SBG branch network was further expanded in Germany. In 1967 , the SBG merged with Interhandel , a former front company of IG Farben , which made it the largest Swiss bank at the time. She also opened her first overseas office in London.

In 1975, an SBG office was established in New York City. In the mid-1980s, the transformation of SBG into a global financial institution began by expanding investment banking , strengthening international asset management and the offshore financial center . In 1985, the SBG bought Deutsche Länderbank AG, Frankfurt am Main - Berlin , and renamed it Schweizerische Bankgesellschaft (Deutschland) AG, Frankfurt am Main. 1986 saw the takeover of the London brokerage firm Phillips & Drew, a leader in institutional asset management. However, high costs led to a change in the expansion strategy. In the following years, the SBG took over several other banks, including the Ersparniskasse Langenthal (EKL) in 1996 , the Appenzell-Ausserrhodische Kantonalbank or the Hamburger Bank Schröder, Münchmeyer, Hengst & Co. in 1997. This enabled the SBG to enter the private sector Banking in Germany and the expansion of your institutional and investment fund business . On July 30, 1997, the SBG was renamed UBS.

Swiss Bank Corporation (SBV), 1854–1998

Headquarters of the SBV, Basel, around 1920

In 1854, under the name Basler Bankierverein, a consortium of six private banks was formed in Basel to finance industrial and railway projects. After the Franco-Prussian War , an economic upswing began, which led to an increasing need for capital . In order to take this development into account, a stock corporation with its headquarters in Basel was founded in 1871 by the consortium with the Frankfurter Bankverein in Frankfurt under the name Basler Bankverein . The first counter at the Basler Bankverein opened in 1872 . In 1895 the bank merged with the Zürcher Bankverein, in 1896 with the Schweizerische Unionbank in St. Gallen , in 1897 with the Basler Depositen -Bank and was renamed "Schweizerischer Bankverein (SBV)". With the opening of branches and the takeover of Banque d'Espine, Fatio & Cie. in Geneva in 1906, the Fratelli Pasquali bank in Chiasso in 1908, the Banque d'escompte et de dépôts in Lausanne and Aigle in 1912, SBV expanded throughout Switzerland. The first foreign branch was opened in London as early as 1898 . In 1917 the bank changed all its names, with the exception of the German one, to Société de Banque Suisse (SBS) (until then Bankverein Suisse), Società di Banca Svizzera (SBS) and Swiss Bank Corporation (SBC) (Swiss Bankverein).

SBV building, Zurich, 1912

In 1918, the SBV's total assets exceeded one billion Swiss francs for the first time. Since most of the SBV business conducted in Germany, Central Europe and Italy was processed in Zurich, the global economic crisis had a particularly strong impact on the invoice results of the Zurich headquarters and resulted in a sharp decline in lending and deposit business as well as in securities trading. The trading volume of the SBV Zurich, who at the Zurich Stock Exchange the share of sales had approximately 12%, down from 658 million in 1929 to 378 million Swiss francs 1935th

In 1936, the bank association founded the Métaux Précieux SA gold refinery in Le Locle . In 1937 the SBV introduced its new logo with the three keys, which were supposed to symbolize trust, security and secrecy. In 1939 the first office in the USA was opened in New York City . In 1945 the Bankverein took over the Basler Handelsbank , one of the major Swiss banks , which had become insolvent at the end of the Second World War . In 1950 the bank association had 31 branches in Switzerland and three abroad. With the growing interdependence of the international financial markets, the company expanded its international presence in the 1950s and 1960s - especially in the USA , but also in Canada , Asia , Latin America and Europe . From 1969 the bank was represented on all five continents (1966: in Asia with Tokyo , and 1969 in Australia with Sydney ). In 1964, two members of the executive board relocated to Zurich for the first time, but the legal seat remained in Basel. In 1972, with the Councilor Lise Girardin the first woman in the Board of Directors elected.

The real estate crisis and deregulation of the Swiss banking sector at the beginning of the 1990s also led to a change in strategy at the SBV, which was expressed in an active expansion policy in investment banking and asset management outside Switzerland. In 1992, the American company O'Connors & Associates, which specializes in derivatives and risk management , was taken over in 1995, and in 1995 the London-based Merchant Bank SG Warburg was fundamentally reformed.

On February 4, 1998, the shareholders approved the merger with UBS at an extraordinary general meeting in Basel . On April 15, the 126th (and last) Ordinary General Meeting of the Swiss Bankers Association was held in Basel. Over the weekend of 27./28. June 1998 the merger with UBS was legally completed.

Establishment of UBS AG (1997/98) and development until 2007

The UBS logo. Three keys symbolize security, trust and confidentiality.

The Federal Competition Commission (Comco) was officially informed on December 8, 1997 about the intended merger of UBS and the Swiss Bankers Association and announced that it would examine this after all the necessary documents had been submitted. At this point in time, the balance sheet total was CHF 400 billion (SBG / UBS) and CHF 300 billion (SBV), so that the second largest bank in the world (measured in terms of total assets) was to emerge. The two banks employed 58,000 people worldwide: 30,000 (SBG / UBS) and 28,000 (SBV). The logo with the three keys was adopted from the SBV and the French acronym "UBS" was adopted from the SBG (Union de Banques Suisses) . The project title of the merger was originally called “United Bank of Switzerland”, which resulted in the same acronym. For trademark reasons, the project title never became the bank's official name. UBS is therefore not an abbreviation, but a proper name with no further meaning.

On May 4, 1998, the merger was conditionally approved, and on May 27/28. June 1998 legally enforced.

UBS branch in St. Moritz

In 1999 GAM , the asset manager specializing in the investment fund business , was taken over for portfolio management for private and institutional investors . In 2000, the US asset manager PaineWebber Inc. was bought. Three years later, in May 2003, UBS took over the French asset management business from Lloyds TSB . In September of the same year, she bought ABN AMRO's prime brokerage business . In the following year, 2004, UBS acquired the Capital Markets Division of Charles Schwab Corporation as well as the asset management business of Bank Julius Baer in North America and the asset management business of Dresdner Bank Latin America AG . UBS also bought Sauerborn Trust AG, the largest multi-family office in Germany, in 2004 . In 2005, UBS took over the real estate arm of Siemens Kapitalanlagegesellschaft mbH and continued it as UBS Real Estate Kapitalanlagegesellschaft mbH. In September 2005, UBS signed a collaboration agreement with the Bank of China .

In December 2005, UBS sold its three independent private banks, Ehinger & Armand von Ernst , Banco di Lugano and Ferrier Lullin as well as GAM to Julius Baer Holding , in April 2006 UBS announced the takeover of the private banking business of the Piper Jaffray Companies, and in May announced the takeover of the Brazilian investment bank Banco Pactual SA, and took over the global futures and options businesses from ABN AMRO . In September 2006, UBS acquired the branch network of McDonald’s Investments. The stake in the Bank of China, worth around US $ 3.4 billion Limited H-Shares , was sold to institutional investors in 2008.

Beginning of the subprime crisis (2007-2008)

As a result of the losses suffered from the financial crisis from 2007 onwards , UBS had to make additional write-downs of 10 billion US dollars on December 10, 2007 . To strengthen its capital base, UBS also announced a capital increase of CHF 13 billion in the form of a private placement between two investors: the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation Pte Ltd. accounted for CHF 11 billion . (GIC), the Singapore sovereign wealth fund, and an additional CHF 2 billion to an investor from the Middle East. At the Extraordinary General Meeting on February 27, 2008, the shareholders approved the planned capital increase with a clear majority. A special audit requested by the Ethos Foundation was narrowly rejected.

On April 1, 2008, UBS announced in a press release that it had structured a net loss of approximately CHF 12 billion and write-downs of approximately US $ 19 billion on positions in the US real estate market and related positions for the first quarter of 2008 Credit expected. This increased the total amount of previous depreciation to 40 billion Swiss francs.

In a media release published on the same day, UBS also announced that the previous Chairman of the Board of Directors Marcel Ospel would no longer be available for re-election to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors of UBS also announced that it would propose the election of Peter Kurer to this body at the Annual General Meeting on April 23, 2008 . He should succeed Marcel Ospel as president. As it became known on the occasion of the publication of the report “Financial Market Crisis and Financial Market Supervision” by the Swiss Financial Market Authority on September 14, 2009, Marcel Ospel resigned at the General Assembly at the time at the instigation of the Swiss Federal Banking Commission .

After several banks in Europe and the USA received state financial aid, the Swiss Confederation and the Swiss National Bank (SNB) helped UBS with two injections of money to avert the serious, long-term economic consequences of an impending bankruptcy. On October 16, 2008, the Federal Government and the National Bank awarded UBS up to 60 billion US dollars: 54 billion US dollars of this was to flow from the National Bank to a special purpose vehicle for the acquisition of problematic UBS securities. The Swiss Confederation itself provided the troubled UBS with 6 billion francs in the form of a mandatory convertible bond . The amount of the assets to be transferred from UBS to the special purpose vehicle was reduced to 39.1 billion US dollars in February 2009, of which a maximum of 35 billion US dollars was borne by the SNB. These assets are managed by UBS in return for compensation .

For the 2008 financial year, UBS reported a net loss of 19.7 billion Swiss francs, with a loss of over 8 billion Swiss francs in the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter, UBS had reduced its risk positions and cut costs, but more than 80 billion Swiss francs in client money had been drained. Due to a positive net inflow of new money in January - both in wealth management and in asset management - UBS spoke in a press release of an encouraging start to 2009, although the bank continued to describe the situation in the financial markets as unstable. In retrospect, UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti described the crisis at the time in November 2012 as a “near-death experience”.

Legal disputes with the USA (2008/2009)

In June 2008, the public was announced that the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission SEC against UBS determined. The suspicion was that UBS regularly aided tens of thousands of US citizens in tax evasion between 2000 and 2007. Raoul Weil , then a member of the UBS Executive Committee, was indicted by the Florida Department of Justice . In November 2014, he was acquitted after a 3-week trial.

In summer 2008, the USA requested Switzerland to hand over the data of the bank customers concerned in an administrative assistance procedure . The Federal Tax Administration (EStV) initiated an examination as to whether the disclosure of confidential bank data would be in accordance with the double taxation agreement between Switzerland and the USA . According to the rules in force in Switzerland, banks are only allowed to pass on customer data if criminal accusations are made against specific persons. Failure to disclose assets and income values ​​is not considered tax fraud in Switzerland, but tax evasion .

According to the Neue Zürcher Zeitung , the first results of the investigation by the EStV regarding the disclosure of the customer data required by the USA were announced for March or April 2009. This took too long for the US authorities and Switzerland was set a deadline by which it had to surrender the requested data - otherwise, criminal proceedings against UBS in the US could be initiated . Shortly before this deadline, on February 18, 2009, UBS finally gave in. At the instigation of the Swiss financial market supervisory authority FINMA , it released the required 250 to 300 customer data and agreed to a payment of 780 million US dollars as the "repayment of unjustified profits" (which in these cases increased to around 300 million US dollars in the case of "evaded" 18 billion US dollars -Dollars were valued) including the penalty. FINMA justified the breach of banking secrecy in this case with Articles 25 and 26 of the Swiss Banking Act, which allow "protective measures" in the event of an "imminent risk of insolvency". The disclosure of client data was therefore seen as a protective measure against a court case in the USA that could have sentenced UBS to much higher fines. The Swiss media and politicians reacted indignantly to this “disclosure of banking secrecy” - the Neue Zürcher Zeitung described this procedure the next day as “capitulating in the tax dispute with the USA”.

The UBS share price fell on the following Friday, February 20, 2009, by 14% to 11 Swiss francs and on the following Monday by a further 9.1% to 10 Swiss francs. After the share closed below CHF 10 for the first time on Tuesday, it recovered to over CHF 11 in the following days, but fell again on March 5 to a record low of CHF 9.52.

The payment of $ 780 million and the release of 250 to 300 customer data were often referred to in the media as " compensation ". In fact, however, this was an out-of-court settlement ( deferred prosecution agreement ) in which the accused admits “a certain responsibility for illegal behavior”, pays a fine , promises improvement and agrees to supervision. In return, for the time being, no charges are brought in court, which could threaten the very existence of a company (for example, the Arthur Andersen audit firm in the USA collapsed in 2002 due to a lawsuit and tens of thousands of employees were laid off). However, there is still the possibility of bringing charges, especially if the accused does not sufficiently cooperate with the public prosecutor (at the discretion of the public prosecutor) and does not cease his illegal activity during a "probation phase" determined by the public prosecutor. In addition, the public prosecutor threatens to publish the indictment. In the case of UBS, this probationary period lasted 18 months. On February 20, 2009, the Swiss Federal Administrative Court prohibited the disclosure of UBS customer data after eight bank customers concerned filed complaints against the FINMA ruling.

At the UBS General Meeting on April 14, 2010 in Basel, the agenda item on the discharge of the Board of Directors for the years 2007 to 2009 was discussed intensively. The reason for this was the business practice, which was considered risky and which had been pursued and approved by the then Board of Directors under the presidency of Marcel Ospel . The UBS Board of Directors decided in December 2009 not to bring legal action against the previous directors. A relief, Décharge called the requested the Board to the General Assembly, the Board of Directors would have protected in the years 2007 to 2009. lawsuits. Before the vote, the shareholders had an emotional discussion, and critical voices were raised against the board members. The shareholders finally approved the discharge of the board of directors for the years 2008 and 2009, but they refused this with 52.75% of the votes for the year 2007. The UBS managers at that time were Marcel Ospel, Peter Wuffli , Marcel Rohner and Peter Kurer still not protected from lawsuits. Lufthansa CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuber was also newly elected to the Board of Directors .

In the summer of 2015, US authorities started investigations against UBS again. Would fined sales through mortgage -backed securities, including mortgage-backed securities called. The investors were not fully informed about the securities.

In response to the 2008–2009 financial crisis, the US authorities demanded detailed resolution plans from the banks in 2012, which should ensure a safe resolution for the financial world in the event of their own collapse. The prepared contingency plans submitted by UBS as well as Credit Suisse , Deutsche Bank and Barclays to the US financial supervisory authorities, the Fed and FDIC, were approved by them at the end of 2018.

High loss due to an employee's trade (2011)

On September 15, 2011, UBS announced before the stock market began that a trader had caused an estimated loss of US $ 2 billion (approx. 1.74 billion Swiss francs) in unauthorized trading transactions. No customer positions are affected. The bank issued a profit warning for the current third quarter.

The 31-year-old UBS investment banker Kweku Adoboli had been arrested in London a few hours earlier . This was in November 2012 by a court in London because of fraud to imprisonment convicted of seven years. He laid appeal against the judgment. The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) had a day of Adobolis arrest, 16 September 2011 a comprehensive, independent investigation in cooperation with the British financial market supervision Financial Services Authority announced (FSA).

On September 18, 2011, UBS put the loss at 2.3 billion US dollars (approx. 2 billion Swiss francs). UBS also stated that the loss was caused by unauthorized, speculative trading in various stock index futures of the S&P 500 , DAX and Euro Stoxx over the past three months. The trader, who worked in the Global Synthetic Equity division in London, exceeded the risk limits. However, he concealed this by engaging in sham hedging transactions, which led to a distortion of the actual dimension of the risk. After the UBS control bodies checked the trader's positions and asked him questions, the trader admitted his illegal activities on September 14, 2011. The UBS Board of Directors set up a special committee to conduct an independent investigation into the illicit trading activity and its relation to the control environment.

On September 24, 2011, the chairman of the board, Oswald Grübel, assumed responsibility for the incident and resigned. On October 5, 2011, UBS changed the two co-heads in the Global Equities division of the Investment Bank. In addition, disciplinary measures were taken against other employees .

Libor scandal 2012-2013

In the context of the so-called " Libor scandal ", in which manipulations of the reference rate LIBOR and other interest rates - namely EURIBOR and Japanese TIBOR - became known in interbank business , UBS agreed in December 2012 to a settlement payment of around CHF 1.4 billion US, UK and Swiss authorities too. UBS Securities Japan also admitted on one count of fraud by manipulating benchmark interest rates . Since UBS was one of two key witnesses in criminal proceedings by the EU Commissioner for Competition against the Libor Cartel , the EU Commission waived a fine of 2.5 billion euros from the bank in December 2013 . Six other banks paid fines totaling 1.7 billion euros.

Condemnation in France

Following an initial preliminary investigation in March 2011, the Paris public prosecutor's office opened an investigation into UBS's business activities in France in April 2012 on suspicion of money laundering and aiding and abetting tax evasion . It was triggered by documents anonymously submitted to French authorities that allegedly indicated the existence of undeclared UBS accounts of French clients in Switzerland and parallel bank records for the years 2002 to 2007.

In July 2012, house searches were carried out at the UBS branch in Bordeaux and at UBS managers in Strasbourg . A few months later, in October 2012, Jean-Frédéric de Leusse, head of UBS France, stated that internal investigations by the bank had not revealed any fraudulent activities.

Formal investigations were initially conducted against Patrick de Fayet, who held the position of UBS General Manager in France in 2008 and 2009, and a former UBS director in Lille , and on allegations of illegal client solicitation , money laundering and stolen goods took up some senior UBS employees in Strasbourg and, from the end of May 2013, also against UBS France on suspicion of covering up tax evasion. As a “witness with legal counsel” , the bank was given the status of both a suspect and a witness at the same time.

In June 2013 the preliminary investigation was extended to UBS in Switzerland. The French public prosecutor suspected the bank of being involved in illegal distribution practices in France.

During the pending legal proceedings in February 2014, a former head of marketing at UBS France alleged in a book that the bank had actively participated in tax evasion for clients. UBS denied their representations.

On February 20, 2019, UBS was sentenced by a Paris court to pay a fine of 3.8 billion euros. The judge found that UBS had been systematically soliciting clients on French soil and inciting tax fraud and judged the offense to be extremely serious. UBS's French subsidiary was fined € 15 million. Five managers of the group were sentenced to probation and fines of up to 300,000 euros. UBS lawyers have announced their appointment.

Investigations in Germany

In 2012, a data CD purchased by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia triggered an investigation against UBS for aiding and abetting tax evasion , with German customers allegedly investing up to 20 billion Swiss francs at the bank without tax . The group agreed with the tax authorities in July 2014 to pay a fine of around 300 million euros.

In September 2016, a lawsuit was brought against the employee who had sold the data CD to North Rhine-Westphalia in Switzerland for breach of banking secrecy. During the ongoing proceedings he left for Germany. After a circumstantial trial, the Swiss Federal Criminal Court sentenced him in absentia to 40 months imprisonment for industrial espionage and a conditional fine for money laundering and illicit ammunition possession.

Investigations in the UK

After the decision of the London High Court of Justice in 2014, the bank had to bear the losses of 400 million euros from high-risk speculations in the KWL scandal with the Leipzig municipal waterworks . In the judgment it was established that one of the KWL managing directors allowed himself to be bribed by financial advisors, while the second managing director helped to cover up this.

Scandal over the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB

On July 12, 2016, the disclosure blog “Sarawak Report” published documents that prove that in 2014 around 1.9 billion US dollars from the environment of the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB were diverted to a UBS account in Singapore . UBS should be involved in one of the biggest money laundering affairs in history, as were the private banks BSI , Falkon , Coutts and Rothschild . It is suspected that the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and some of his confidants had diverted a total of up to 4 billion US dollars from the sovereign wealth fund 1MDB into their own pockets. The new estimate by " Wall Street Journal " is up to 6 billion US dollars. UBS subsequently realized that something was wrong with the transactions and reported it to the authorities. As things stand, the Swiss Federal Prosecutor's Office has not opened any criminal proceedings against UBS.

Business activities abroad

In autumn 2018, UBS announced plans to resume the wealth management business of super-rich Americans (in the USA, but also in Hong Kong and Singapore). For this purpose, the Wealth Management and Wealth Management Americas departments were merged to form a Global Wealth Management division. According to UBS estimates, there are 14,200 US citizens with more than 100 million and a further 700 citizens with more than 1 billion Swiss francs. With the FATCA agreement, which came into force in 2014 , US authorities automatically receive information about the bank accounts of US citizens in Switzerland, which reduces the risk of regulatory problems.

In 2018, UBS became the first foreign bank in the People's Republic of China to acquire a majority in a domestic finance joint venture . Chinese regulator CSRC approved UBS to increase its stake in UBS Securities - its investment banking arm in China - to 51%. UBS bought 12% of the shares of China Guodian Capital Holdings and 14% of the agricultural conglomerate Cofco. According to UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti, “the further opening of the Chinese financial sector offers great opportunities for wealth management, investment banking and asset management”.

In 2018, Kirk Gardner announced that UBS was planning to re-enter the Indian wealth management market and that it would expand its workforce in India to 3,000 by the end of the year. Additional service centers are to be set up in the country. UBS currently has one center each in Mumbai and Pune . In October 2018, UBS opened a new technology center in Pune, where 1,300 people are to be employed. In addition, more than $ 1 billion worth of IT work is being outsourced from UBS.

UBS in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

The German market was very important for UBS and its predecessors SBV and SBG. Therefore, shortly before the merger, the important German private bank Schröder Münchmeyer Hengst (SMH) was bought and asset management continued under this name for the time being. On July 1, 2003, SMH was fully integrated into the structure of UBS and has been called UBS Wealth Management AG since then. On July 3, 2005, the UBS divisions Wealth Management, Investment Bank and, in some cases, Asset Management in Germany were merged into the new company UBS Deutschland AG.

UBS currently has branches in Germany in Berlin, Hamburg , Frankfurt am Main , Düsseldorf , Stuttgart and Munich . UBS offers clients in Germany services in the areas of wealth management, investment banking and asset management. Despite the difficult German market, UBS aims to be sustainably profitable from 2018 onwards.

In Austria UBS since 1994 with a branch in Vienna present. UBS in Austria currently also has a branch in Salzburg . UBS offers Austrian clients services in the areas of wealth management, investment banking and asset management. Private individuals are offered comprehensive wealth planning, while companies and institutions are offered a large selection of UBS funds approved for sale in Austria.

On December 1, 2016, UBS merged most of its wealth management units in Europe (including Germany and Austria) into one legal entity, UBS Europe SE . The new European subsidiary is headquartered in Frankfurt am Main and is represented on the European markets through a network of branches. The corporate form of Societas Europaea allows UBS strategic flexibility.

Since the Swiss “ too big to fail ” provision requires that systemically important parts of the big banks can be continued in the event of a crisis, UBS applied for a new banking license in November 2014 and created the new UBS Switzerland AG unit on June 15, 2015, which took over all business on the Swiss market.


In June 2015, the head of communications at UBS Group AG announced that the internal and external appearance would be revised. The publication of the “it's time” project was announced for autumn 2015, and a new advertising campaign was launched in September. It should rebuild trust in the bank and win the next generation as customers thanks to the predominantly digital campaign.


On a global level, UBS competes with the major global investment banks such as JP Morgan Chase , Goldman Sachs , Merill Lynch, etc. In the current rating of the world's largest banks (by assets ) by S&P Global , UBS is in 34th place.

UBS's biggest competitors at national level are Credit Suisse , Raiffeisen Bank , Post Finance , Migros Bank and some cantonal banks , such as B. Zürcher Kantonalbank and Banque Cantonale Vaudoise .

In Europe , UBS competes with various major banks such as Deutsche Bank , HSBC , BNP Paribas , Natixis , Royal Bank of Scotland , Santander and Unicredit . In the current rating of the largest European banks (by assets ) by S&P Global, UBS ranks 15th.

In the USA , UBS competes with the major American banks located there, such as Citigroup , Bank of America , Goldman Sachs , JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley .


In 1997, the night watchman Christoph Meili employed by the SBG publicized the destruction of files from the National Socialist era . In response to international pressure In the same year, the Swiss Bank Corporation and the Swiss Bank Corporation together with Credit Suisse set up a fund to compensate Holocaust victims. The banks have been accused of storing assets worth several hundred million US dollars that German National Socialists stole from Jewish citizens and deposited in Switzerland.

Like other Swiss banks, UBS's predecessors were criticized for their business relationships with South Africa during the apartheid period . In 2002, 91 apartheid victims filed a lawsuit in New York against UBS, Credit Suisse and 20 other Western companies that are said to have supported South Africa's human rights abuses by working with South Africa. The lawsuit was dismissed in November 2004 and is on appeal.

According to a Belgian and a Dutch non-governmental organization, UBS is involved in financing companies that are involved in the development or production of cluster bombs , with this commitment being valued at US $ 465 million.

The Swiss Federal Prosecutor's Office opened criminal proceedings against UBS in 2012 on suspicion of money laundering . According to the Bruno Manser Fund , Musa Aman , head of government of a Malaysian state, is said to have demanded bribes from timber companies for the granting of timber concessions and for the export authorization of tropical timber and then laundered them at UBS.

Since November 2016, UBS has been criticized for its co-financing of the owners of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The pipeline runs from North Dakota to Illinois and runs through the tribal areas of the native Sioux people there . Barack Obama had the further construction of the oil pipeline stopped at the end of 2016, Donald Trump approved it again at the beginning of his presidency. A report from the information program “10 vor 10” on SRF on February 22, 2017 shows that UBS plays an important role in financing the pipeline and the companies behind it. Other financial institutions such as the largest Norwegian bank DNB and the Dutch ABN AMRO ended their financial involvement in the project because of the criticism of the project with regard to human rights and environmental risks.

Media reception

  • The case. How UBS got caught in the maelstrom of the financial crisis. Documentation, Switzerland, 2008, 50 min., Script and direction: Hansjürg Zumstein , production: SF , link to the video.


Global Finance magazine recognized UBS in the following categories in its report World's Best Bank 2017 :

  • Best Investment Bank; Best M&A Bank
  • Best Foreign Exchange Bank.

In 2018, UBS was recognized by Global Finance in the category Best Private Bank for Intergenerational Wealth Management .

In its Awards for Excellence series of awards , the financial market magazine Euromoney awarded UBS the Best Bank in Switzerland award for the sixth time in a row in 2017 . In addition, UBS received the awards Best Investment Bank in Switzerland and Western Europe's best bank for advisory 2017 and as the best global private bank.


The communication policy of the UBS completes the public relations with one, while also sponsoring activities play an important role. According to the company, the group’s sponsoring strategy is based on specialization. Historically, sport and (contemporary) art have emerged as two main areas. UBS is also involved in other areas, such as B. Research, active.


UBS has been a sponsor of Formula 1 since 2010 and has been a team partner of Mercedes-AMG Petronas since 2011 . UBS is also the Official Sponsor of the Monaco Grand Prix and Prestige Partner of the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM). In 2013, UBS expanded its sports sponsorship activities to include skiing and became an official partner of the Hahnenkamm Races in Kitzbühel .

On a national level, UBS supports, among other things, the UBS Kids Cup with over 850 athletics competitions and 130,000 participants, the IAAF Diamond League event Weltklasse Zürich as well as the main sponsor Athletissima in Lausanne since 1982 and the Gala dei Castelli since 2014.

At the fifth Swiss Sponsorship Awards 2017, the UBS Kids Cup was recognized as campaign of the year 2016 and UBS for the best sports sponsorship. The decisive reasons given here were innovation and sustainability, as well as a clear target group definition and digital activation.

UBS first appeared as the main sponsor of the world's oldest ice hockey club tournament, the Spengler Cup Davos, in 1985 and has been supporting this important sporting event ever since.

Since 2015, UBS has been the title sponsor of Hong Kong's oldest professional sporting event and one of the most renowned international golf tournaments in Asia - UBS Hong Kong Open .


In the field of art, UBS is a global lead partner at Art Basel and is an active partner in contemporary art projects such as B. Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative. Art Basel and UBS also publish an annual publication, The Art Market . The publication is an annual analysis of the global art market .

Other areas

The UBS International Center of Economics in Society, founded in 2012 as an associated institute of the University of Zurich, caused a stir and controversy . Under the title “Zurich Appeal”, 27 scientists publicly criticized the contract between UBS and the University of Zurich. The main point of criticism regarding the credibility of the public institution has been the university's appearance of bias. The majority of the critics also stated that UBS “did not do anything wrong” even after the contract was made public.

See also


Web links

 Wikinews: UBS AG  - in the news
Commons : UBS  - collection of images, videos and audio files

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