Profile: Andrea Orcel

WHEN Andrea Orcel left Bank of America Merrill Lynch earlier this year to join UBS as its co-head of investment banking, many in the City believed it was only a matter of time before he claimed the top job, writes David Hellier.

Yesterday the Swiss bank announced that Orcel will be leading the advisory functions of the investment bank going forward while co-head Carsten Kengeter will take over winding down the parts of the bank that have no future.

Orcel, who has long been friends with UBS chief executive Sergio Ermotti, is the consummate corporate adviser and he has got off to a flying start at his new place of work. In July he encouraged a former client of his, Russian bank VTB, to give UBS a lead role on its $1bn perpetual bond sale. He then helped the bank gain a key role in Santander Mexico's $4bn share listing in New York.

“He’s certainly turned a few heads here, with the way in which he's been rushing around,” said one colleague.

During a period when UBS will be going back to focus on advisory work, eschewing a strategy of taking large balance sheet risks, Orcel may blossom.

However, one of his most talked about deals at Bank of America Merrill Lynch was UniCredit's rights issue, where the willingness of his bank to commit its balance sheet – and take a large risk in the process – played a crucial part in the transaction’s success.