UBS seeks to offload Australian wealth unit to management: source

By Reuters

May 25, 2015 07:17 PM EDT

UBS is seeking to offload its private bank in Australia to the unit's management following a review of underperforming businesses at the Swiss bank, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Monday.

The withdrawal is in contrast with the Swiss bank's expansionary plans in the broader Asia-Pacific region, which include growing wealth assets at 15 percent annually as it builds its presence in China.

Mike Chisholm, until Monday the head of UBS wealth management in Australia, is leading the buyout attempt, dubbed Crestone, which the source said the Swiss bank would view as "a good outcome" for clients if successful.

The withdrawal is not expected to affect UBS's existing investment banking and asset management activities in Australia, the person said.

The news was first reported by The Australian Financial Review on its website on Monday.

It is unclear how much in assets the UBS unit manages, or if it is profitable. The head of UBS' overall private bank, the largest in the world, last month alluded to his dissatisfaction with the unit's performance, which has been burdened by tougher regulatory requirements.

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