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What UBS’s investment bankers need to know about Andrea Orcel

Parachuting in Orcel

Parachuting in Orcel

UBS’s investment banking business could do with a bit of a shake-up. It ranked 8th globally in ECM last year, down from 5th in 2010 according to Thomson Reuters. It also ranked 8th in DCM, down from 6th the previous year. Only in M&A did UBS hold its rank: 6th in both years.

Andrea Orcel, the soon to be co-CEO of UBS’s investment bank, could therefore cause some ruptions when he arrives in July. Orcel is, needless to say, coming from BAML, which is substantially the stronger of the two banks in all areas of IBD.  “UBS is in for a rude awakening,” one of his friends told the Financial Times. 

If you work at UBS and don’t want to be awoken rudely, this is what you could benefit from knowing about Orcel before he arrives.

1. He’s a 48 year-old Italian polyglot who’s close to Sergio Ermotti

Orcel 48 and speaks 5 languages. He’s got an MBA from INSEAD and studied economics and commerce at theUniversityofRome. His first banking job was at Goldman Sachs, where he worked in fixed income. From there, he went to Boston Consulting before he joined Merrill Lynch in 1992, where he’s been ever since. Orcel specialises in FIG banking. At Merrill he worked with Ermotti, who was also at the bank from 1987 to 2005.

2. He will be calling you at 5am

Orcel has an, “intense work rate,” says the Financial Times. 

He starts work with a round of calls to clients between 5am and 7am. “He’ll want to know what more everyone is going to do to make money and what more they’ll do for every client,” one former colleague told the FT. “It’s going to be very different.”

Another colleague told the FT UBS’s more relaxed culture will be decimated: “This is end of UBS. It’ll be a cultural bloodbath.”

3.  His employers will do almost anything to keep him

As an investment banker, Orcel is a big fee earner. This puts him in a position of strength and has given him leverage to move to senior roles at BAML. In 2009, for example, he was promoted to president of international global banking and wealth management and head of international corporate and investment banking, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, a move seen as necessary to keep him after the merger. Orcel’s rainmaker status puts him in a strong position with management.

4. He is “ruthless” and “fiery” and may be challenging to work with

Orcel is “famously fiery,” points out the Financial Times.  He is ruthless when it comes to getting things done, a banker informs Reuters. 

“I don’t think the chemistry between [Christian] Meissner and Orcel was all that great,” another banker tells Financial News. 

Breaking Views points out that Orcel has no experience of leading a large and complex investment bank and that he has a reputation as a lone operator.

From the perspective of UBS bankers, he is yet another outsider parachuted in from above.

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