UBS seeks wealth management boost with JPMorgan hire and new Russia head

ZURICH, May 12 (Reuters) - UBS is seeking to boost its wealth management business in Russia and the broader central and eastern Europe region with a senior hire from JPMorgan and a new head of wealth management for Russia.

The Swiss lender has hired Elena Griffin, JPMorgan’s head of wealth management for Russia, to become vice chair of the Central and Eastern Europe, Greece and Israel region and has promoted Ekaterina Lehmann to become head of global wealth management in Russia, it said in a memo seen by Reuters and confirmed by the bank.

Through Griffin’s appointment, the world’s biggest wealth manager hopes to extend its business with family offices -- privately held groups which coordinate investments and advise the world’s richest families on their wealth -- in the region led by Caroline Kuhnert.

“During her 11 years with JP Morgan, Elena built a very strong franchise focusing on billionaire clients from the region,” Kuhnert and global family office (GFO) head Joe Stadler said in a joint memo.

“Her exceptional track record and strong networks will allow us to broaden and strengthen our GFO business in the markets she serves.”

Griffin, recently announced to lead JPMorgan’s private banking and wealth management business for international clients in New York, will join UBS at the beginning of July.

Lehmann, now head of the UBS’s global family office and ultra-high-net-worth clients for Russia and surrounding countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), will lead wealth management in both Russia and CIS countries.

UBS employs roughly 70 staff in Russia, where it has made significant hires in wealth management over the past year. (Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi and Oliver Hirt Editing by David Goodman)