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UBS wealth chief gets audition for top job

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Iqbal Khan, CEO International Wealth Management of Swiss bank Credit Suisse, smiles as he speaks during “The Wealth Management Industry – Into the next decade” at the Reuters Global Wealth Management Summit, Park Hyatt hotel, Zurich Switzerland, June 13, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

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MILAN, July 13 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Iqbal Khan’s promotion puts him on track for bigger things. UBS (UBSG.S) on Tuesday appointed the private banker sole head of its flagship global wealth management business. Khan, who joined UBS in 2019 from cross-town rival Credit Suisse (CSGN.S), was already sharing the oversight of UBS’s $3.1 trillion division with veteran Tom Naratil, who is stepping down.

Khan’s appointment looks like a leadership test. It puts the Swiss banker more firmly in control of the U.S. wealth business, which accounts for just over half of UBS global clients’ assets. The division, whose reliance on financial advisers bumps costs to 84% of income, has seen a year-on-year decline in profit before tax in the first quarter of 2022. Khan has an opportunity to improve the situation by going more aggressively after slightly less wealthy U.S. clients and by offering more loans and deposits to improve retention. It’s not easy. Former Credit Suisse boss Tidjane Thiam binned the bank’s U.S. wealth management arm. Khan should see the challenge as an audition for one day succeeding UBS Chief Executive Ralph Hamers. (By Lisa Jucca)

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Editing by George Hay and Streisand Neto

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