UBS’ chief risk officer Christian Bluhm postponed plans to focus on his photography today as the bank confirmed he will stay for the “foreseeable future” to handle the acquisition of Credit Suisse.
Bluhm, who has been in place since 2016, was planning to handover to Damian Vogel on 1 May. Bluhm had been hoping to open a studio and gallery in Zurich when he stepped down.
Writing on his website, Bluhm said “shooting the night sky was at the start of my journey into professional photography many years back.”
“Since then I made it a habit to have a camera with me at all times,” he said.
Vogel, who is currently head of risk in the wealth management business, will instead be group risk control head of integration where he will lead risk control related integration activities.
Chief executive Sergio Ermotti said: “Having both senior risk leaders actively engaged will help ensure that we’re well prepared and appropriately set up in an area that is crucial for our future success.”
UBS has admitted that the integration poses “significant execution risks”, although it will not distract from its current business plan. Ernotti himself was brought back to UBS, replacing his short lived replacement Ralph Hamers, to handle the integration of its long-time rival.
Credit Suisse was mired in scandal for years before it was finally taken over by UBS last month. UBS chair Colm Kelleher has said Credit Suisse will have to align to UBS’ more conservative culture.
Credit Suisse is locked in a range of legal battles at the moment, including its attempts to recover funds exposed to the collapse of Greensill Capital and accusations from the US Senate that it hindered internal investigations into Nazi clients and Nazi-linked accounts.
In its first quarter results released today, Credit Suisse revealed it had suffered from around £55bn in asset outflows.
Bloomberg Intelligence’s Alison Williams said the outflows were “better than some fears” but show there’s “work to do”.
Williams noted that while the outflows from Credit Suisse’s wealth management business may have benefitted UBS ahead of the acquisition, she expects “client-attrition risk from the combined entity to weigh on deal prospects.”
On an adjusted basis the bank posted a loss of CHF1.3bn. Analysts at Barclays said this was worse than expected while “the loss guidance seems to be more negative for 2023.”
Credit Suisse expects to post a “substantial loss” over the course of 2023. UBS will post its results for the first quarter tomorrow.