Why UBS? | Investment banking on The Gateway

Key facts

UBS in a sentence: UBS draws on its over 150-year heritage to serve private, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as retail clients in Switzerland. Its business strategy is centered on its pre-eminent global wealth management businesses and its leading universal bank in Switzerland, complemented by its Global Asset Management business and its Investment Bank, with a focus on capital efficiency and businesses that offer a superior structural growth and profitability outlook.

Industry: Financial services

Type of organisation: Public company

Headquarters: Zurich, Switzerland

Opportunities for graduates: Graduate programs in wealth management, investment banking, asset management, finance, IT, legal, compliance, risk, audit, controlling, HR and marketing.

Graduate / intern positions: In 2014, we hired 476 university graduates and 991 interns across all of our global locations.


Introducing UBS

Henry Knapman is a Managing Director in the FX, Rates & Credit area of the firm’s Investment Bank. He joined the firm in 1995 and has since held a number of different roles across the organisation. Here Henry answers some key questions about UBS.

How would you introduce UBS to students?

UBS is a 150-year old, multi-faceted global financial services organisation. Its roots lie in the wealth management, retail and private banking sectors, providing services for some of the wealthiest individuals in the world. 

Where and when did UBS start, and what would you say are the key milestones in its history?

While UBS's Swiss predecessor firms go back as far as 1862, we are now a global organisation, and we have a strong footprint in Europe and Asia. Almost a third of our employees are based across Asia Pacific and EMEA, not counting Switzerland. 

Our global presence has been built up gradually, both organically and through a series of mergers and acquisitions that have taken place over many years.

The firm’s recent acquisitions have included famous brands such as the investment banks S.G. Warburg and Dillon, Read & Co. in the mid-1990s, which gave rise to UBS Investment Bank.  

In 2000, UBS acquired the US financial firm PaineWebber Inc., which allowed the firm to significantly expand its wealth management business in the US.  

These multiple acquisitions have given us a global presence in both wealth management and investment banking, and have allowed UBS and its employees to enjoy an extremely broad, inclusive and diverse culture.

What are the main areas of UBS's business today?

UBS’s wealth management and investment banking divisions work with wealthy individuals across the globe, as well as a wide array of global businesses, from institutional investors to corporate clients across all industries and sectors. We also provide retail & corporate banking services in Switzerland and asset management services globally.

What makes UBS stand out as a graduate employer in financial services?

Above all, it would have to be our client focus and our survivability. UBS is an extremely broad organisation with a very strong client focus that reflects our roots as a wealth management firm. 

In recent years, we have adapted our business model more quickly than other major financial services firms in reaction to the global financial crisis. This has meant changing the shape of our business in line with current and anticipated regulations and market conditions to make sure we are best positioned for how financial markets are going to work in the future. 

This forward planning means we are better equipped to face future financial or economic downturns than many of our competitors. We are also better able to benefit from upturns.

We are going to be around and performing at high level for many years to come, which is good news for anyone who’s just embarking on a career in this industry. 

Why did you choose to work for UBS and what keeps you there?

I joined UBS in 1995 as a fresh-faced graduate trainee and have been with the firm ever since. Twenty-year careers with the same investment bank are increasingly rare nowadays, so the question of what’s kept me here is certainly a valid one.

The firm has allowed me to perform a wide variety of different roles as my career has developed, which has always kept me on my toes. 

One of the most interesting experiences I’ve had was the opportunity to undertake a 12-month secondment with the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) during the height of the global financial crisis in 2009 and 2010. 

Above all, it’s the firm’s flexibility and entrepreneurial approach that I particularly value and which sets UBS apart from its competitors in my eyes. 

Can you give a surprising fact about UBS?

Did you know that UBS currently has a banking relationship with more than 50 percent of world’s billionaires? 

If you want to know more about Henry or other UBS employees, visit our "Meet our people" page and read their stories:  

http://www.ubs.com/global/en/about_ubs/careers/why-ubs/our-people/k-henry/2014/7/21/meet-henry.html .

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