UBS Splits Wealth Management into Americas, Swiss Divisions

UBS has divided its wealth management units “to adjust to new market conditions and the changing environment,″ the company said.

In a release today, UBS said it created two new business divisions, effective immediately: Wealth Management Americas, led by Marten Hoekstra, and Wealth Management & Swiss Bank, comprising all non-American wealth management businesses as well as the Swiss private and corporate client business. The latter will be led by Franco Morra and Juerg Zeltner.

The announcement comes as UBS unveiled its fourth-quarter losses of about $6.98 billion in a separate release. The bank also plans to further reduce headcount by another 2,000 in the investment banking unit. UBS said it has positioned itself to be profitable in 2009 by improving risk controls, reducing its balance sheet and positions in troubled securities, and raising capital from private investors.

Wealth Management

Under the leadership of Hoekstra, the Americas unit “will continue to focus on gaining scale and market share in the domestic U.S. wealth management market as well as further developing the Canadian and Latin American markets,’ UBS said.

Last week, news outlets reported Wachovia Securities LLC and UBS Financial Services Inc. were in preliminary talks about a joint venture of their retail-brokerage units.