ZURICH -- UBS AG on Tuesday became the first Swiss bank to trade on the New York Stock Exchange, a move that will make it easier to expand in the United States, investors and analysts said.
As a result of the New York listing, UBS will be able to pay for any U.S. acquisitions with dollar-denominated shares.
"We have now an acquisition currency here in the States that will allow us ... to seriously consider acquisitions," chief executive Marcel Ospel said in an interview. "There are significant opportunities for growth here."
A U.S. listing also makes UBS "a more reputable partner" for an investment bank such as Merrill Lynch & Co., said Heinrich-Horst Wiemer, an analyst at Bank Sal. Oppenheim & Cie. "UBS can afford to be opportunistic because it's big enough to develop" its own securities business.
But the Zurich-based bank is most likely to buy a small investment bank or asset manager, investors said. Last year UBS bought Hartford, Conn.-based Allegis Realty Investors LLC to build its real estate management business.
Though Mr. Ospel said the company has "no specific plans in the pipeline," UBS would like to build its London-based UBS Warburg investment banking unit and its Chicago-based asset management business.
He said he would consider buying an investment banking boutique or an asset manager with sector expertise, like Allegis.
"If UBS can buy something at a reasonable price, it will take the opportunity," said Phurbu Darpoling, who manages $3 billion at Credit Suisse Asset Management.
Asset management and private banking generate more stable earnings than investment banking. The Swiss bank last month made a bid for Pioneer Group Inc., a Boston-based a money management company, but lost out to UniCredito Italiano SpA.
UBS Warburg has a smaller U.S. presence than Deutsche Bank AG, which last year bought Bankers Trust Corp., and would benefit from acquisitions, analysts said.
Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank AG have said they plan to list in the United States, where last year's repeal of a 1933 law separating securities firms and banks could ease mergers among European banks and U.S. rivals. Luqman Arnold, chief financial officer at UBS, said in March that the listing will give the bank "tactical flexibility and positioning."