UBS not seeking to benefit from crisis at Credit Suisse- chair

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Colm Kelleher, Chairman of UBS Group AG, speaks during the Global Financial Leaders Investment Summit in Hong Kong

ZURICH (Reuters) -UBS is not actively benefiting from the crisis at rival Credit Suisse, UBS Chairman Colm Kelleher told a Financial Times banking conference on Wednesday.

Credit Suisse has reported sharp outflows as wealthy clients turn their back on the embattled Swiss bank.

“We are not actively benefiting at their expense. We view them as a worthy competitor going through a crisis which I believe they will manage,” Kelleher said.

“But clearly we are also in a world of clients moving money around so where clients proactively approach us we either let the money come to us or we let it go to our American competitors and on that basis we do what we can,” Kelleher said.

He said rich clients at UBS, the world’s biggest wealth manager, were holding more cash than at any time since the financial crisis of 2008.

Kelleher touched on the scrapped $1.4 billion deal to buy Wealthfront, an automated wealth provider with a U.S. focus that would have enabled the Swiss bank to expand in the mass affluent wealth category.

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“There has been management change in the United States, valuations have changed, other circumstances have changed,” he said.

The chairman said he felt the deal would have also complicated things for the Swiss bank’s investors and was not in line with the company’s otherwise clear U.S. strategy.

Kelleher dismissed speculation of tension between himself and CEO Ralph Hamers. “Ralph and I get on phenomenally well, we are very complementary,” he said.

(Reporting by Noele Illien and Oliver Hirt, Editing by Michael Shields)