Activist Investor Knight Vinke Calls for Break Up of UBS

Getty Images

UBS shareholder Knight Vinke Asset Management has called for a separation of its wealth management division from its investment banking division, which it claims has tarnished its reputation and damaged client trust.

In an open letter signed by Knight Vinke board member Eric Knight, the activist investor said the excessive risk within the UBS investment banking operations between 2007 and 2009 "nearly destroyed" the bank and a simplification of the group's structure would help the bank unlock its full value potential.

"We now urge the Board to pursue these strategic options as a priority and to ensure that the interests of shareholders are kept distinct from those who have vested interests of their own," Knight said.

UBS is due to hold its annual shareholder meeting on Thursday.