UBS is best thought of as a huge army tanker, which was hurtling at high speed in completely the wrong direction when Oswald Grübel took the controls in 2009.
First he had to bring it to a halt, by stopping the firm hemorrhaging client cash in the face of a highly-damaging US tax probe and the preceding financial crisis; then he had to turn it around, something he has been doing slowly but surely for many months; now he appears to have it travelling in the right direction.
A strong rebound in wealth management inflows, which came in at a net SwFr11.1bn in the first quarter, is proof that the Swiss bank’s nascent recovery has turned into something more full-throated.
Some investors might quibble over the numbers behind the markedly improved headline investment banking result: the bank still appears to be losing market share in both equity and debt capital markets. Others will want to wait for the results of the much-anticipated strategic review before piling into the stock. By then, however, the turnaround of a bank that was one of the credit crunch’s biggest victims, will be priced in.