Day of change at UBS and Bank of America

David Hellier
Follow David
YESTERDAY was a day of musical chairs at two of the City’s top investment banks as both UBS and Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BoAML) made significant management changes.

UBS, the bank still reeling from the after-effects of the rogue trader scandal, indicated its intention to remain a major force in investment banking by hiring Andrea Orcel, the most formidable dealmaker at BoAML, to jointly lead its investment bank with the current incumbent Carsten Kengeter.

Then it emerged that Jonathan Moulds, president of BoAML’s European business, was retiring after 18 years at the bank. Moulds had been planning his retirement for several months in order to pursue his philanthropic activities.

The sudden departure of Moulds and Orcel leaves BoAML with a big gap in its European investment banking operations. In the interim this will be filled by Christian Meissner, who only recently located to New York when he became sole head of the bank’s corporate and investment banking unit.

Moulds’ departure appears to have been announced early because the original intention was for Orcel to take on part of his role.

In hiring Orcel, UBS will feel it has pulled off a major coup. He is a consummate deal-maker and client handler, with a large roster of clients that have included recently Unicredit, the Milan-based bank, Santander and Russian investment bank VTB.

Colleagues at BoAML describe him as something of a colossus but warn that he is not necessarily a team player. “He is a brilliant banker but he sees everything through the prism of power,” said one former colleague.

That could make life difficult for Kengeter: although the two men will run separate businesses, with Orcel in charge of corporate finance and Kengeter running sales and trading, one source close to UBS said that some senior bankers expect Kengeter’s influence to diminish.

UBS group CEO Sergio Ermotti, who knows Orcel well, said: “I am pleased that we are adding Andrea’s depth of experience and skillset to our group executive board.”

In another move to strengthen UBS’s investment bank, Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, currently CEO of the Asia Pacific region, was appointed as its chairman.