UBP Backs Off New York, Fund Of Funds Business

Nov 1 2010 | 11:59am ET

Union Bancaire Privée is cutting back on its New York office—home to its alternative investments headquarters.

The Swiss private bank said it was refocusing its attention on Europe and Asia "to have more employees nearer our clients," UBP Asset Management marketing chief Emmy Labovitch told Financial News. As a result, "UBP is going to reduce its headcount in New York in favor of Europe and Asia."

New York will remain the center of UBP's fund of hedge funds operations, which lost some US$700 million in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme. Since then, it has seen its fund of funds assets fall from US$43 billion to just US$16 billion.

Currently, UBP has about 90 employees in New York, compared to between 20 and 30 working on hedge funds in Geneva. Labovitch said "there will be some redeployment" of the former to the latter.

Labovitch said the move follows UBP's redirection of its alternative investments business towards an advisory function.

"Clients are getting more confident and are asking for more bespoke advice and customized portfolios," she said. "Our advisory business is largely based in Geneva and London."

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