China's request to speak to UBS banker unrelated to bank: CEO

China's request to speak to UBS banker unrelated to bank: CEO

ZURICH: UBS chief executive Sergio Ermotti on Thursday (Oct 25) said a request by Chinese authorities that an employee delay her departure from Beijing was found to be unrelated to the bank or the employee.

The Singapore-based UBS banker, who is a client relationship manager in the wealth management unit, was last week asked to delay departure from Beijing and remain in China to meet with local authority officials this week. Her identity was not known.

"We know for sure at this stage it had nothing to do with the bank or with (the employee)," Ermotti said on a call with journalists on the sidelines of its investor day.

The bank had temporarily asked its China wealth management staff to reconsider any travel plans to China after the banker was asked to stay and meet with officials. It lifted the measure within 24 hours. No other units in the bank, including back office or asset management teams, were affected.

Ermotti added the matter was quickly clarified and the employee was never detained. Such situations happened routinely with others banks, he said.

READ: UBS says it allows staff to travel 'freely' to China after banker's departure delayed

"UBS would like to confirm that we allow all our staff to travel freely in and out of the country and it is business as usual for us in China," UBS said in a statement to Reuters on Tuesday.

"UBS has had a strong franchise in China for 30 years and remains fully committed to further developing our business on the mainland," the bank added.

READ: UBS warns staff over China travel after banker held in Beijing

UBS, Switzerland's largest bank, on Thursday posted a surprise 32 per cent rise in third-quarter net profit to 1.25 billion Swiss francs (US$1.25 billion), amid a bumper quarter for its investment bank and said it aims to grow wealth management profits at the upper end of its target over 2019-2021.

The new targets come as geopolitical jitters and trade tensions have put pressure on the group's main business managing money for the world's wealthy.

READ: UBS targets American wealth for growth as investment bank shines

Source: Reuters/nh(aj)