UBS shrugs off break up calls from activist

Michael Bow
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SWISS investment bank UBS yesterday dodged shareholder criticism to win a resounding victory at its annual meeting over the future direction of the bank.

Activist investor Knight Vinke, which owns less than one per cent of the company, surprised fellow shareholders earlier in the day with an open letter calling for UBS’s investment bank to be hived off due to its riskiness.

Last month shareholder groups had also called on investors to oppose the discharge of UBS executives as well as generous pay deals, including the so called £17.5m golden hello for incoming investment banking head Andrea Orcel.

But around 89 per cent of investors backed the bank’s performance for 2012, up on the 52 per cent for last year.

Over 82 per cent of shareholders also voted to back UBS’s pay plans, including Orcel’s, up on the two-thirds who backed the plans at last year’s meeting.