UBS Group AG (SIX:), led by CEO Sergio Ermotti, is making headway in its merger with Credit Suisse, focusing on the U.S. market expansion and planning to announce a comprehensive three-year growth strategy in February next year.
Ermotti confirmed on Tuesday that the merger process is progressing rapidly, with UBS implementing over $10 billion in cost savings. The strategic update suggests that UBS has started to look beyond the integration of its former competitor, which was rescued from collapse by government support in March.
The acquisition of some of Credit Suisse’s business territories in Asia and Latin America has given UBS an immediate scale boost. However, it remains uncertain how the Swiss banking giant intends to extend its reach in the US, the world’s largest economy.
Ermotti highlighted the importance of integrating the investment bank in the US to provide more opportunities for client advisors and financial advisors. This move aims to assist clients in monetizing or executing M&A transactions for their businesses. Ermotti stated that UBS has reached a critical mass of bankers in the US and is exploring ways to diversify revenue streams in its wealth management business.
A significant portion of the merger savings will result from decommissioning infrastructure and IT related to Credit Suisse’s loss-bearing investment bank and exiting legacy businesses incompatible with UBS’s strategy. Ermotti prioritized non-core legacy cost-reduction and risk-weighted assets rundown as essential steps towards value creation from a shareholder perspective.
Last month, UBS disclosed that the non-core unit consisted of approximately $55 billion of risk-weighted assets as of the end of June, including around $17 billion from Credit Suisse’s investment bank. The bank also indicated that about two-thirds of the investment bank would be shut down, hinting at potential job cuts.
Ermotti reassured that the non-core unit primarily comprises “good” assets, which require careful disposal. He emphasized the need to balance speed and decommissioning to avoid value destruction, as these assets do not carry a toxic profile.
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