UBS hires JP Morgan's Crawford for global family office

LONDON, April 12 Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:40am EDT

LONDON, April 12 (Reuters) - UBS has hired JP Morgan veteran Bryan Crawford for its global family office, a joint venture between investment banking and wealth management that aims to bring Asian and Middle Eastern billionaires more investment options in Europe.

Launched last year and expected to be rolled out globally, the unit will bring together investment banking clients in need of finance and wealthy families looking to put cash to work, said the joint head of the business Jerry Wattenberg.

Crawford's role is a new one for the firm and is designed to make sure billionaires get better access to corporate finance transactions including initial public offerings.

"The premise is that a large selection of very wealthy and sophisticated clients need and want services beyond what the average private banking model can provide," said Wattenberg, who declined to name his clients because the relationships are confidential.

Wattenberg said that ultra high net worth individuals or family offices could often invest over $25 million in a single deal. UBS is also investigating whether it can create pools of capital from these clients to invest in a range of deals.

"We have had approaches from families asking to look at a particular bank's assets or asking if we have bank assets for them to look at," he said.

"There are jewels within distressed bank portfolios these families would like to own. It is an extra source of capital for the banks, every bit helps."

Family offices like clean, unleveraged assets, notably hotels and luxury brands, UBS said.

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