UBS AG History

Bahnhofstrasse 45
CH-8098 Zurich

Telephone: (01) 234 11 11
Fax: (01) 234 34 15

Public Company
Incorporated: 1912 as Union Bank of Switzerland
Employees: 69,684
Total Assets: SFr 1.24 trillion ($838.2 billion) (2002)
Stock Exchanges: Swiss New York Tokyo
Ticker Symbol: UBS
NAIC: 522110 Commercial Banking; 522210 Credit Card Issuing; 522291 Consumer Lending; 522292 Real Estate Credit; 522293 International Trade Financing; 523110 Investment Banking and Securities Dealing; 523120 Securities Brokerage; 523920 Portfolio Management; 523930 Investment Advice; 523991 Trust, Fiduciary, and Custody Services; 524113 Direct Life Insurance Carriers; 525910 Open-End Investment Funds; 551111 Offices of Bank Holding Companies

Company Perspectives:

Our vision is to be the pre-eminent global integrated investment services firm and the leading bank in Switzerland. We are the world's leading provider of private banking services and one of the largest asset managers globally. In the investment banking and securities businesses, we are among the select bracket of major global houses. In Switzerland, we are the clear market leader in corporate and retail banking. As an integrated group, not merely a holding company, we create added value for our clients by drawing on the combined resources and expertise of all our businesses.

Key Dates:

Six private bankers in Basel form the "Bankverein."
Bank of Winterthur is founded.
Toggenburger Bank opens for business.
The "Bankverein" becomes a joint stock company under the name Basler Bankverein.
Basler Bankverein merges with the Zürcher Bankverein, forming the Basler and Zürcher Bankverein (BZB).
Following two more mergers, BZB changes its name to Schweizerischer Bankverein (initially translated into English as Swiss Bankverein).
Bank of Winterthur and Toggenburger Bank merge to form Schweizerische Bankgesellschaft (with the initial English name being Swiss Banking Association).
Swiss Bankverein changes its English name to Swiss Bank Corporation (SBC).
Swiss Banking Association changes its English name to Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS).
SBC acquires Basler Handelsbank; UBS acquires Eidgenössische Bank; the headquarters of UBS is moved to Bahnhofstrasse 45 in Zurich.
UBS acquires Interhandel, a Swiss financial company.
Phillips & Drew, a London brokerage and asset management house, is acquired by UBS; UBS also acquires the West German bank Deutsche Länderbank, which is renamed Schweizerische Bankgesellschaft (Deutschland) AG.
Martin Ebner, through an investment trust called BK Vision AG, takes an 18 percent stake in UBS and questions management decisions for the next several years.
Chicago-based derivatives specialist O'Connor & Associates is acquired by SBC.
SBC acquires Brinson Partners Inc. of Chicago, an institutional asset management firm, and S.G. Warburg Group PLC, a leading European investment bank.
SBC acquires U.S. investment bank Dillon Read & Co.
Swiss Bank and Union Bank merge to form UBS AG.
The U.S. brokerage firm PaineWebber Group Inc. is acquired.

Company History:

Further Reading:

  • "Battle of Trafalgar," Economist, January 21, 1995, pp. 74+.
  • Bauer, Hans, The Eventful Hundred Years of the Swiss Bank Corporation, Basel, Switzerland: Swiss Bank Corporation, 1972.
  • Bennett, Neil, "Extrovert Giant Among the Gnomes," Times (London), June 5, 1993.
  • Bray, Nicholas, and Margaret Studer, "UBS Banks on Conservative Strategies," Wall Street Journal, June 1, 1993.
  • Cameron, Doug, Charles Piggott, and John Parry, "No Bank Is Safe," European, December 11, 1997, pp. 8+.
  • Celarier, Michelle, "UBS to Investors (Except Ebner): There's Lots to Like," Global Finance, February 1995, pp. 60-64.
  • "A Cultural Revolution," Economist, August 6, 1994, p. 61.
  • Evans, Garry, "The Ospel Interview," Euromoney, April 1997, pp. 36-44.
  • Ewing, Jack, "Has UBS Found Its Way Out of the Woods?," Business Week, March 29, 1999, p. 101.
  • Fairlamb, David, "UBS's Mr. Fix-It," Business Week, April 15, 2002, p. 44.
  • Faith, Nicholas, "Switzerland's Big Three Have a Fight on Their Hands," Euromoney, December 1980, p. 93.
  • Gasparino, Charles, "PaineWebber Agrees to Be Bought by Swiss Bank UBS for $12 Billion," Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2000, p. C1.
  • Gilardoni, Diego, La Svizzera è bella: un paese in crisi fra la vicenda dei beni ebraici e dell'oro nazista e la fusione UBS-SBS, Bellinzona, Switzerland: Edizioni Casagrande, 1999.
  • Hall, William, and Norma Cohen, "Swiss Banks to Aid Nazi Victims," Financial Times, February 6, 1997, p. 2.
  • Javetski, Bill, and William Glasgall, "An Audacious Alpine Assault: Can Once Stodgy Swiss Bank Corp. Turn Itself into a Global Finance Powerhouse?," Business Week, March 6, 1995, pp. 86+.
  • Kinkead, Gwen, "Gnomes at Home," Forbes, August 22, 1983, p. 158.
  • Koenig, Peter, "Can the UBS Colonels Win the Overseas Battle?," Euromoney, July 1989, pp. 34+.
  • Kraus, James R., "Shaking Up Swiss Bank Corp.," American Banker, July 26, 1994, pp. 4+.
  • Lewis, Julian, "Busting the Big Banks' Closed Shop," Euromoney, August 1989, pp. 73+.
  • ------, "Swiss Sluggard Strives to Catch Up," Euromoney, October 1991, pp. 26+.
  • Marshall, Julian, "UBS Gets a Facelift," Euromoney, March 2002, pp. 58-60.
  • Parry, John, "Bottom Line for Bungling Banker," European, November 6, 1997, p. 34.
  • Peterson, Thane, Kerry Capell, William Echikson, and Stanley Reed, "How the Big One Changes Banking," Business Week, December 22, 1997, pp. 52, 56.
  • Pretzlik, Charles, "Lost Battle Left Ospel Determined to Win War," Financial Times, February 14, 2002, p. 29.
  • Sesit, Michael R., "Swiss Bank Corp. Plans to Purchase Brinson Partners," Wall Street Journal, September 1, 1994, p. C1.
  • Shirreff, David, "Another Fine Mess at UBS," Euromoney, November 1998, pp. 41-43.
  • ------, "The Plunder of UBS," Euromoney, March 1998, pp. 28+.
  • "A Smooth Run for Switzerland's Big Banks," Economist, June 17, 1989, pp. 87+.
  • Spiro, Leah Nathans, "Why Swiss Bank Lured a Minnow," Business Week, June 2, 1997, p. 128.
  • Steinmetz, Greg, Patrick McGeehan, and Matt Murray, "Swiss Merger Stirs Up Financial Industry," Wall Street Journal, December 9, 1997, p. A3.
  • Strehle, Res, Gian Trepp, and Barbara Weyermann, Ganz oben: 125 Jahre Schweizerische Bankgesellschaft, Zurich: Limmat, 1987.
  • Studer, Margaret, and Nicholas Bray, "Swiss Banks Face Obstacles As Role Shifts," Wall Street Journal Europe, February 25, 1992, p. 13.
  • Templeman, John, Mark Maremont, and William Glasgall, "The Big Cheese in London Banking Could Be Swiss," Business Week, July 27, 1987, p. 37.
  • "The Travails of UBS," Economist, March 11, 2000, p. 76.
  • "Trouble in the Chocolate Box," Economist, April 29, 1995, pp. 86+.
  • Walker, Marcus, and Suzanne McGee, "Swiss Bank Fills Gap with PaineWebber," Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2000, p. A18.
  • Whitney, Glenn, "Swiss Bank Agrees to Buy Warburg Group," Wall Street Journal, May 11, 1995, p. A4.

Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 52. St. James Press, 2003.