Will Two Banks Create a $1.5T Asset Management Titan?
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Friday, April 05, 2019

Will Two Banks Create a $1.5T Asset Management Titan?

The board of a multinational bank may be looking to create a $1.5-trillion-AUM asset management titan by buying another multinational bank's asset management arm and combining it with their own.

Ulrich Koerner
UBS Group AG
President of Asset Management, and President of UBS Europe, Middle East, and Africa
UBS' [profile] board is weighing different options for growing its asset management business, Bloomberg reports. Those options, unnamed sources tell the publication, include the possibility of buying DWS Group [profile] and combining it with UBS asset management, then spinning that firm off from UBS.

DWS, which is publicly traded but still majority owned by Deutsche Bank, had 662 billion euros (about $743 billion) in AUM as of December 31, 2018, while UBS asset management had $781 billion; both asset managers, despite being based in Europe, have sizable businesses on this side of the pond, too. Ulrich Koerner serves as president of UBS asset management (and president of UBS Europe, Middle East and Africa), while Asoka Woehrmann serves as CEO of DWS.

At this point, keeping UBS asset management unchanged and not acquiring DWS is still on the table, too, those unnamed sources told Bloomberg.

The UBS team has been pondering UBS asset management's strategic options for about a year, Bloomberg reports. Indeed, back in the fall the UBS team was reportedly considering acquisitions or joint-ventures in the U.S. retail or specialty asset management businesses.

If UBS were to spin off its asset management arm, that would make its wealth management arm one of two wirehouses with no asset management sibling.

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