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Practice Management > Building Your Business

UBS Group Taps Outsider as New CEO

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Ralph Hammers (Photo: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Bloomberg)

UBS Group has tapped ING Group’s Ralph Hamers as its chief executive officer. Effective Nov. 1, Hamers will succeed Sergio Ermotti, who has led the bank since late 2011.

The 53-year-old Dutch executive has been CEO of ING for the past six years, having joined it in 1991.

“Ralph is the person to lead UBS’s continued transformation and build upon its successful strategy. A seasoned and well-respected banker with proven expertise in digital transformation, Ralph has an impressive track record … ,” UBS Chairman Axel Weber said in a statement.

Hamers will remain at ING through June and begin his role on UBS’ Group Executive Board in September.

During his time as CEO at ING, the firm improved revenue but had to bring on more compliance resources after it settled an investigation by Dutch prosecutors that involved money laundered by clients through the bank for some $890 million in 2018. 

Globally, UBS has some 10,000 financial advisors working with about $2.5 trillion in client assets. 

In the Americas, UBS has about 6,550 FAs, down from some 6,850 a year ago. They work with about $1.4 trillion in assets, have average AUM of $214 million, and produce yearly fees and commissions of $1.4 million on average. 

‘Surprise’ Hiring

“The appointment is definitely a surprise,” Rahul Sen, global leader of wealth management and private banking at Boyden Executive Search, told Bloomberg

“What we have seen of ING over the past 10 years — the way they’ve come back to profitability is by reducing costs,” Sen explained. 

Due to the large fine ING paid during his tenure, Hamers was paid about $2.2 million annually in recent years, Bloomberg reported, vs. about $9 million to $14 million for Ermotti.

Hamers was tapped for the CEO slot at UBS over internal leaders such as COO Sabine Keller-Busse and Iqbal Khan, who heads wealth management along with Tom Naratil.

Khan was hired in October from Credit Suisse, which hired an investigative firm to follow him and now accuses him of serious misconduct in connection with a confrontation with then-Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam.


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