UBS says more than 20 leave wealth management unit
LONDON (Reuters) - About 20 client advisers and some additional support staff have resigned from the wealth management arm of UBS AG <UBSN.VX> over the past few weeks, the world's largest wealth manager said on Thursday.
"It is entirely normal to see a peak in client adviser departures at this time of year following bonus season. UBS Wealth Management continues to attract and hire client advisers in all markets," John Pottage, the chief executive of the unit in Britain, said in a statement.
UBS has become Europe's biggest casualty of the global market turmoil, writing down at least $37 billion in the value of U.S. real estate assets, primarily related to subprime mortgages.
A source familiar with the matter said 18 advisers had left last week for start-up Vestra Wealth and about five resigned this week, two of them going to investment bank Rothschild <ROT.UL> and one to Merrill Lynch & Co Inc <MER.N>.
Vestra Wealth is headed by David Scott, who previously led UBS's High Net Worth Wealth Management and Stockbroking divisions in Britain.
UBS Wealth Management in Britain has around 37 billion pounds ($72.98 billion) in invested assets and more than 300 client advisers.
"Despite difficult markets, no other bank is as committed to wealth management as UBS, as it is our core business offering," Pottage said, adding that the business in Britain had seen strong increases in financial performance, invested assets and client advisers year on year.
(Reporting by Olesya Dmitracova, editing by Will Waterman)