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UBS CEO says no plans to sell U.S. wealth management arm

Swiss bank UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti addresses the annual news conference in Zurich February 5, 2013. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer
Swiss bank UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti addresses the annual news conference in Zurich February 5, 2013. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer

ZURICH (Reuters) - UBS has no plans to sell its U.S.-based wealth management arm, the former Paine Webber brokerage, Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti said on Wednesday.

"It has always been my view that it would be a terrible strategic mistake for UBS not to have a significant presence in what is arguably the most important financial center and wealth management market globally," Ermotti told a gathering of business people.

There has periodically been speculation that UBS might sell the U.S. wealth management business as its broker-based model is different from UBS's larger private bank.

The U.S. arm was losing money and shedding brokers before Robert McCann joined as chief executive in 2009 from Merrill Lynch. In the fourth quarter of 2012, its pretax profit increased 36 percent from a year ago to $216 million.

Average revenue generated by the U.S. business's approximately 7,000 advisers topped $1 million in the quarter, a record for the U.S. unit, compared with $686,000 in the quarter before McCann arrived.

(Reporting By Katharina Bart. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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