Heinrich Baer (UBS): Banking is all about people
Heinrich Baer, Country Head UBS Luxembourg, says that the bank is building momentum through the acquisition of part of Nordea’s Private Banking business in Luxembourg and targeting further growth as it helps clients to navigate through uncertain economic times.
How has UBS Luxembourg developed in the past 18 months?
The major development of the past year was marked by the acquisition of part of Nordea’s Private Banking business in Luxembourg, which kept us busy in addition to running our daily business. The deal closed mid of October and I am proud that after almost half a year, we on-boarded our new colleagues and clients, providing a really positive conclusion to the year. This acquisition is a confirmation of our strategy and our commitment to Luxembourg as part of UBS Europe SE positioning us as the hub for the European cross-border business. The Nordic region has gained importance for us and became one of our strategic priorities. In addition, we were able to further expand and grow our Asset Servicing business, through which we offer Family Offices and Ultra High Net Worth clients worldwide instruments to structure their wealth. Luxembourg is an ideal jurisdiction for regulated funds; people want to do business in a successful market. Overall, we had a really good year in 2018.
"I have two main objectives for 2019: integrating people and enhancing the client experience."
What goals have you set for this year?
We have two main objectives for 2019: integrating people and enhancing the client experience. A key focus is how to bring our new colleagues into the UBS family, not just into the workforce. I want them to feel at home and part of a great organisation. My colleagues and I also need to find the best way to engage with our new clients and make them feel connected to our brand. I am confident that this evolution will be rewarding for everyone: clients, employees and the firm itself. When I arrived here six months ago, part of the building was empty. Now it is full of life and the place is buzzing – more decibels create a good feeling! We seek to keep building this growth momentum.
What is your current assessment of the European and global markets?
At a global level, we are facing a complex and challenging situation, shaped by strong political figures. The word is that we are moving toward slower growth, which raises questions for our clients. The European context is not different – there is a lot of uncertainty over Brexit, not only for the financial industry but also for entrepreneurs. Our role is it to help clients find their way through this cloudy and unstable environment. It is easy for a company to give advice when things are going well, but right now it is a lot more demanding. That is when client proximity, professional strength, global footprint and 157 years of experience of our Group come into play. That is what drives me: helping people to build their careers, move into new roles and develop new skills. Getting them to discover the world for themselves is the true strength of a global Group like ours – it creates tremendous value for our clients and stakeholders.