Internal memo comes amid the global FX fixing scandal investigations (Photo: Reuters)
Internal memo comes amid the global FX fixing scandal investigations (Photo: Reuters)

One of the three co-heads of UBS' foreign exchange unit is stepping down and is finding a job elsewhere in the bank, as the Swiss group restructures its currency unit, amid global investigations into alleged FX market manipulation.

According to an internal memo seen by IBTimes UK, sent by the head of the investment bank Andrea Orcel, UBS has followed in a number of other bank's footsteps by combining its fixed income business with foreign exchange.

"Over the last twelve months, our FX/PM (precious metals) and Rates & Credit (R&C) businesses have gone through a number of significant changes that have substantially strengthened and more closely aligned their business models," said the memo.

"With different, yet complementary strengths, but requiring similar approaches to succeed in highly competitive markets and a narrowing regulatory environment, FX/PM and R&C are now able to benefit from a number of synergies and merge, creating a new construct called 'FRC' - FX, Rates and Credit.

"Both businesses have performed well and are EP positive, and combined they will continue to outperform against our strategic objectives. The integration is not a change in strategy, rather a natural evolution of what we are trying to achieve between the development phases of the Accelerate strategy."

The FX unit will still be led by Chris Murphy and George Athanasopoulos while Chris Vogelgesang, co-head of Global FX and Precious Metals, "is exploring other opportunities in the bank."

However, earlier this month, UBS' chief executive Sergio Ermotti, said that the investment-bank restructuring was completed at the beginning of this year, declaring it "mission accomplished."


UBS' currency unit has come under scrutiny after the bank announced that it deferred a key earnings target by a year because of temporary demands to hold extra capital to deal with unresolved legal issues.

According to the UBS' third quarter results announcement, the Swiss banking giant has imposed a temporary 50% capital top up over the next year, in a bid to deal with potential costs of unknown legal probes, compliance issues and other risk matters.

In December last year, UBS agreed a record $1.5bn fine with US, UK and Swiss authorities and also admitted to one count of wire fraud relating to rigging rates in Yen.

UBS' investment banking unit in Japan was also ordered to pay a $100m criminal penalty after pleading guilty to committing wire fraud in connection to the scandal.

According a number of media reports, UBS has now scored another immunity deal, related to Libor manipulation, after signing an agreement with European Union authorities to protect it from further penalties from the scandal.

UBS has now also banned multi-bank and multi-dealer chat rooms as part of an internal review, becoming the latest big institution to do so in the wake of a number of regulatory probes.