Executive Q&A from UBS Investment Bank Asia
Q: As Chairman and CEO for Asia Pacific, how do you feel UBS sets itself apart from competitors in the region?
UBS has been a major participant in the Asia Pacific financial sector for many decades. It is that commitment, over a sustained period of time, including during the financial crisis, that sets us apart from the competition. Beyond that, we operate in every one of the major markets within the region, and we aim to be part of the local community in those markets. By saying we are global, but multi local, we create a sense of local belonging, but with the capacity to bring to the region whatever Wall Street or London, or indeed any other major financial centre has to offer.
Q: How do you see UBS developing within APAC - what is its course?
UBS has set out its stall in the APAC region as being a fully integrated firm, offering Investment Banking, Wealth Management and Asset management services to a broad range of clients. The mix of clients in the region lends itself to what we do best - provide financial solutions to all types of clients, however complex, and hope and expect that each part of our organisation over time will become a trusted adviser of that client.
Q: What is the favorite, and least favorite aspect of your job?
My favorite aspect of the job is seeing our amazing young talent begin to prosper and grow their career with the firm. To see the leaps and bounds that can be taken by young people, because we have the experience and infrastructure available to support them, is very rewarding. I am a great believer in allowing young colleagues to prosper through direct experience with clients. Occasionally some guidance is needed, and so experience is shared and gained. The less rewarding aspect of the job is the constant travel. It comes with the role, and seems to increase as the years go by, but despite the tiring nature of the travel, it has its upsides too - working with so many different cultures and backgrounds in so many different Cities means life is never dull and always a challenge.
Q: How would you describe the UBS culture and the typical characteristics of a UBS employee?
The UBS culture is one of inclusivity. We see little point in having colleagues if they cannot feel free to contribute to all that we do. An open environment, in which all should feel able, whatever their experience or length of service, or background in general, to make a significant contribution is a win for all. Inevitably, if that is the working environment, those who are good at what they do will prosper early in their careers. I believe it is the case that the UBS Executive Board remains one of the youngest of all the major financial firms, and this is no accident.
Q: What first attracted you to the industry?
I was as much attracted to the industry, as I was repelled by other ideas for gainful employment! In the end, the financial markets had something of everything for me, and in particular, perhaps more so than any other industry, a true meritocracy as its base for promotion and career progression. I did not want to get into an industry in which "time" had to be served before one could progress. The combination of clients, whether individual, corporate, Sovereign or institutional, products and the vast spread of geographic exposure all added to the potential excitement of the industry. When I first joined, the short term financial rewards also played a part in my decision making, although looking back on it, this was naive on my part. I would have worked just as hard, for half the reward, just because it was all so exciting and challenging.
Q: Best bit of advice you were ever given?
I don't think any one piece of advice received could be described as the "best". What I can say is that you are constantly surrounded by staggeringly good people, whether peers, colleagues, clients or indeed competitors. And hence over the years you receive, whether directly or indirectly, a constant flow of high quality advice and ideas which make up your total experience. I do not believe there is any other industry in which this can also be said. I guess if I had to pick one piece of advice, or rather a statement made to me by a retiring colleague, it would be to trust my instinct more. Too often, careful analysis ignored the sum total of all known inputs.
Q: How do you relax?
I relax on the ski slopes, on the golf course and in the music halls. Good food has always played an important part in my life, and hence dining out in the fantastic variety of venues available across Asia is also a great treat. I am afraid I am also an avid watcher of TV.
Q: What, ultimately, can a UBS graduate expect?
Graduates should expect to be challenged early in their careers, to be given real responsibility early, and to have real accountability. They should expect to be able to achieve a lot quickly, to gain a huge amount of experience and receive some of the best training the industry has to offer. All in all, our expectations of graduates are high, and theirs of UBS should also be high. They are after all our future.
UBS Investment Bank Asia Quick Links
- UBS Financial Services and UBS Global Asset Management-North America-Investment Banking
- UBS Investment Bank (Europe)-Europe-Investment Banking