UBS has been quietly retooling its U.S. FIG team

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It may have escaped your notice, but in the past 18 months UBS has been quietly adding to its Financial Institutions Group (FIG) team in the U.S., and in the next few weeks another key hire is due to arrive.

According to an internal memo sent by UBS in August, the Swiss bank hired seven bankers to its U.S. FIG team in the previous 18 months. The latest new recruit is Abzal Ayubeally from Nomura, who's arriving in November.

Ayubeally was head of Nomura's Americas FIG group. At UBS he will be taking a more niche kind of a role as head of life, property and casualty insurance.

UBS's other FIG hires include: Carlos Alvarez, who joined from Deutsche in May 2018 as head of specialty finance; Eric Ferdinand, who joined from Sandler O'Neill in July 2019 to cover banks from Chicago; Stephen Gerson, who joined from Wells Fargo in April 2019 to cover fintech; Ben Metzler, who joined from Barclays in 2018 to cover Canadian banks; and Terry Sullivan, co-head of the FIG Group, who arrived in March 2019 from Victory Capital (after 14 years at Morgan Stanley).

UBS declined to comment on the build, which comes after the bank committed to improving its performance in the U.S. market. In 2018, then head of the investment bank Andrea Orcel said UBS had a "very aggressive" plan for the Americas, where he aimed to double the bank's client facing bankers.

Orcel left UBS in September 2018, but the bank still seems to be pursuing his strategy. Analysis by search firm Sheffield Haworth shows that UBS has added 10 managing directors in its U.S. investment banking business so far this year, second only to Bank of America, which added 19. 

However, as fast as UBS hires new MDs, old ones seem to leave. Year to date, UBS has also lost seven MDs according to Sheffield Haworth's analysis. This may explain why the bank still ranks outside the top ten for U.S. M&A deals so far this year according to Dealogic.  By comparison, BofA - which hired 19 and lost nine - has risen from eighth to fourth place. 

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Photo by Todd Quackenbush on Unsplash

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