UBS is one of those banks that catches a lot of crap on the Street these days. I can't make a value judgment about that one way or the other because I've been out of the game for so long, but some of the bank's higher-profile slip ups have added fuel to the fire. Having to settle with the IRS and "out" clients' personal data had to be a bitter pill for any Swiss banker to swallow.
Now the bank is denying last week's news that they're about to spin off their IBD and incorporate it outside Switzerland. That prompted John Carney of CNBC to write this laundry list of the bank's troubles. I have to admit, I laughed out loud when I read that UBS bankers treat the former Paine Webber brokers like "retarded children".
So what's going on over there? There has a been a steady stream of high-level defections over the past couple years, most recently rainmaker Chris Abbate.
Earlier this week, one of the most important bankers at UBS, leveraged finance head Chris Abbate, walked out. Abbate's business of arranging loans to big corporate clients was an important part of building relationships that can win the bank mandates for IPOs and merger deals. He was highly visible to clients. It will be a challenge to win these deals without him.
What happens to UBS from here? Can they get it together and be a force in the market again? Or are they relegated to "also-ran" status on the Street from here on out? And with my sincerest apologies to current and former UBS employees, I just have to quote the Wall Street meme and ask:
Does UBS really suck?