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UBS Loses Another Top Investment Banker to Bank of America

UBS headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.
Steffen Schmidt
UBS headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.

The turmoil at the investment banking arm of UBS rolled on today, with yet another top banker going to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Bank of America announced today in an internal memo obtained by Reuters that it hired James Fleming as co-head of Asia equity capital. Fleming is leaving UBS after 11 years at the Swiss bank, where he was most recently head of BoA's equity syndicate.

UBS has lost dozens of investment bankers in the last few years.

Lately, both current and former UBS investment bankers have been complaining about compensation levels and management. Oswald Gruebel, UBS’s chief, sent an email to all the investment bankers at UBS on Friday emphasizing that the firm was committed to growing its New York based investment banking business.

On Friday, Bank of America announced it had hired Mary Ann Deignan away from UBS, where she had worked for the last seven years, most recently as head of its America’s capital markets group. CNBC’s NetNet broke the news that UBS had also lost Gary Howe, the co-head of the financial institutions group in the Americas.

In March, UBS poached Matthew Koder from UBS to head its corporate and investment banking business in Asia.

Both Deignan and Fleming will report to Dan Cummings, head of global equity and equity-linked capital markets. Fleming’s co-head will be Jason Cox.

Inside of UBS, there is a lot of talk of more defections to come.

Morale is low and the departures of top bankers has some inside the bank worried about its ability to stay competitive.

In response, UBS has gone on a bit of a hiring spree of its own, and is promising those who remain that the bank plans to expand its investment banking business. Last Thursday, UBS said it hired Thomas Langford from Morgan Stanley to lead its global energy investment banking team, a position that had been open for several months following another high level defection.

The following day, UBS said it hired Marc Daniel to focus on middle market deals by private equity firms. Daniel had been head of of healthcare M&A at RBC Capital Markets.

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