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March 30, 2022

No future for many international banks in Russia: UBS chairman

Understand the impact of the Ukraine conflict from a cross-sector perspective with the Global Data Executive Briefing: Ukraine Conflict


UBS Group outgoing chairman Axel Weber sees no prospects for international banks in Russia even if there is a cease-fire, reported Bloomberg.

The Swiss bank, which employs around 70 staff in Russia, is currently closing down its business in the country following its military attack on Ukraine and the subsequent sanctions announced by the US and its allies.

According to Weber, the bank is making exemptions for sanctioned individuals who live in the European Union and Switzerland.

Weber did not reveal the amount of money the bank manages on behalf of its Russian clients.

He said: “We’ve been reducing our exposure to Russia both on the collateral side and on the client tremendously already since January because tensions were looming.

“I personally, and this is for my successors to decide, do not see any future of business onshore in Russia for many of the international banks because even if we come to a cease-fire, Russia has put itself outside the international community and this will have a pretty long-dated consequence.”

Last week, UBS disclosed that it has about $200m exposure to Russian assets that were used as collateral in loans.

The bank also stated that it has $10m of loans outstanding to its wealth management clients hit by sanctions in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.

Earlier this month, it triggered margin calls to wealth management clients in the light of escalating sanctions on the country.

Weber is retiring from the office after completing a ten-year term limit. He will be succeeded by former Morgan Stanley veteran Colm Kelleher.

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