Since its foundation in 1862, UBS has played a vital role in the development of the banking business in Switzerland. In 1998 Union Bank of Switzerland and Swiss Bank Corporation merged to become today’s UBS. Union Bank of Switzerland goes back to the Bank in Winterthur in 1862, and Swiss Bank Corporation goes back to the Basler Bankverein in 1872.
In 2000 UBS acquired the US broker and asset management firm Paine Webber and established the bank as a significant player in the US. In the Asia Pacific region, UBS is one of the top-tier investment banks and a major wealth manager. The Headquarter of UBS is in Zurich, and the bank has offices in 52 countries worldwide. UBS is the largest and strongest universal bank in Switzerland. The net new money growth for the combined wealth management was plus 2.1 % in 2017.
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Philosophy and Strategy
UBS offers financial advice to institutional, corporate and wealthy clients worldwide and in Switzerland additionally to private clients. UBS wants to increase the return to its shareholders further and strengthen the capital position. The aim is to pay a yearly dividend growing in the higher single digit percentage in the coming years. The value of the bank should further increase through planned share buy-backs. The share price to tangible book value is for the last six years above one and shows a strong performance compared to many of the competitors.
The right strategy for UBS is adapting to a changing environment and focusing on global wealth management and universal banking in Switzerland as well as having competitive asset management and investment banking. UBS wants to start growing again in America and of course be the leader in Switzerland. UBS also believes firmly in the Asia Pacific market especially China where the creation of wealth is accelerating. UBS is no longer in a restructuring mode, and the bank has set demanding targets for the corporate center and business divisions.
UBS has a strong commitment to be a leader in sustainability. The activities related to sustainable investing and philanthropy with customers and the community investments are part of the cross-divisional organization UBS and Society. The flow of new regulations is gradually slowing down, and it seems that some of the regulatory burdens can be reduced, especially in the US.
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Services and Solutions
UBS has one corporate center and four business divisions, Global Wealth Management, Asset Management, Investment Bank and Private & Corporate Banking. Global Wealth Management provides tailored financial services and comprehensive advice to wealthy private clients around the world. The resources they can offer are wealth planning, investment management, corporate financial advice and banking and lending.
Customers have a wide range of products available. Portfolio-based investment advice is provided by the Investment Platforms and Solutions unit (IPS) based on the client’s overall investment goals. UBS offers discretionary mandates or clients can receive recommendations on an advisory basis. There is a full range of products available from equities, fixed income, investment funds, structured products to alternative investments.
The Personal & Corporate division in Switzerland offers financial products and services to private clients, especially the day-to-day banking business and institutional clients and corporations giving them access to equity and debt capital markets. The Asset Management division has its presence in 23 countries.
They offer a wide range of products in different asset classes which can be delivered in the form of segregated, pooled or advisory mandates as well as investment funds. The Investment Bank has its presence in 35 countries and offers advisory, equity capital markets, debt capital markets, financing solutions and risk management services to corporate clients. The Corporate Center includes the asset and liability management as well as the service center.
UBS has reduced risk and its balance sheet exposure continuously since 2012. The primary focus of UBS is the operational risk. The market risk is kept at low levels. The primary risk is the credit risk, the market risk, traded and non-traded, the country risk, the consequential risk involves the liquidity risk, the funding risk, the foreign exchange risk, the operational risk. Additionally, risks are the pension risk, the environmental and social risk, the business risk and the reputation risk.
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UBS offers a price & earnings report which compares the major cities in the world relating to living costs and the salaries purchasing power. The latest report shows that Zurich is the most expensive city, followed by Geneva and Oslo. In Los Angeles, people have the highest buying power for their salary. UBS wants to invest at least 10 % of their revenues in technology. The investment in digital capabilities will offer clients market-leading investment advice and innovative digital service solutions.
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Few banks do not disclose their Annual Reports to the public. Therefore, we collected reliable information on a best-efforts basis. We renounced to collecting information from unreliable sources. Until today, Swiss law does not impose the duty of publication to the banks as it is the case in the EU. Therefore, for a few banks, the information from the annual reports was not summarized and published.
There are some smaller banks without a rating. It makes no sense for them to apply for a rating because they are not involved in the lending business. If the bank has no rating, it’s not automatically a negative point. There are excellent private banks without a rating.
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