UBS eyeing asset management merger with DWS – reports

Swiss bank could combine businesses and spin them out as separate entity

UBS shutters robo advice

UBS is reportedly seeking to grow its asset management division with rumours swirling that it is eyeing DWS as a potential merger target.

Bloomberg has reported people familiar with the matter as saying the Swiss bank has considered acquiring Deutsche Bank’s asset management arm to combine it with its own business and spin off the two as a separate entity.

The sources in the story added, however, that the discussions may not lead to a deal.

UBS declined to comment while a DWS spokesperson said it does not comment on individual market speculations, especially when they refer to the thinking of third parties.

UBS Asset Management has about $800bn (£608bn) under management while DWS has €662bn (£565bn).

Last year UBS reported its invested assets decreased to $781bn from $796bn in 2017 due mainly to negative market performance of $33bn and negative foreign currency translation effects of $15bn.

The asset management industry has suffered as the explosion of passive investment strategies, cost pressures and regulation have squeezed their margins. Several asset managers have merged in the past two years, most notably Standard Life Investments and Aberdeen Asset Management, creating Aberdeen Standard Investments, and Janus Capital and Henderson Global Investors, now known as Janus Henderson.

Aberdeen Standard Investments reported outflows of £40bn last year and recently ditched the co-chief executive structure that was in place following the respective mergers. Janus Henderson also dumped the co-CEO model in August.

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