The Swiss banking giant UBS AG has reorganized its two institutional asset management units under a new chief investment officer.
The banking company said Thursday that it has combined U.S.-based Brinson Partners with London-based Phillips & Drew under Jeff Diermeier. Mr. Diermeier, 47, had been deputy chief investment officer at Brinson.
Brinson and Phillips & Drew manage the bulk of UBS Asset Management's $345 billion of assets, mostly for institutions.
Gary Brinson, 56, who had been chief investment officer for Brinson, will remain chairman of UBS Asset Management until the end of the year, when he plans to retire, according to a statement from the banking company.
Tony Dye, 51, who had been chief investment officer of Drew & Phillips, is also retiring.
Mr. Dye and Mr. Brinson are leaving UBS voluntarily, a spokeswoman said.
Combining the investment management and research resources puts about 600 investment specialists in one unit. UBS Asset Management employs 2,700 people around the world. It is unclear whether there will be any job losses because of duplication.
Observers said that the UBS move is partly an attempt to prevent customer defection caused by poor performance.
"There's no secret that the performance record of these two businesses has been generally poor," said Ian McEwen, an equity analyst at Lehman Brothers in London.
In the United States, Brinson's Large Cap Equity Fund had losses of 11.05% in 1999, compared with 11.27% growth for the sector overall, according to data from Lipper Inc., a Reuters company.
But UBS has largely pursued a strategy that is more heavily weighted in the value strategy than the popular growth style of investing, Mr. McEwen said, and this has not helped overall performance,
"They've also limited their exposure to the tech sector," he observed.
The combined unit does not plan to change its investment strategy, the spokeswoman said.
But the move might also be an effort to present a united front to investors, said W. David Seymour, a partner and national industry director for KPMG Peat Marwick in New York.
A number of European banks have acquired asset management capabilities around the globe, he said.
"Over time there's a logical need to bring them together," Mr. Seymour said.