From Mother Merrill to Uncle UBS

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Bob McCann

Bob McCann

Bobbie McCann is on a role in recreating Mother Merrill at Uncle UBS. McCann, who was recently promoted to head of the Swiss bank's America's operation, has been on a tear luring one former Merrill Lynch rainmakers after another into the UBS fold, hoping to stem the erosion of the investment bank's U.S. market share.

The most recent is James Forbes, who will hold the title of vice chairman and head the U.S. arm of the global investment bank.

Forbes will focus on trying to win investment banking mandates from health care companies, buyout firms and “targeted accounts,” McCann and UBS investment bank head Carsten Kengeter said in a memo to staff, which was obtained by Bloomberg.

This would make sense since at Bank of America, Forbes oversaw $30 billion of principal investments and ran Merrill's health care investment banking globally.

McCann has been luring a number of former Merrill Lynch heavy hitters to UBS of late. So far, he's named four former Merrill executives including himself to a six-member executive committee overseeing UBS’s Americas businesses.

The 52-year-old Forbes had joined Merrill Lynch in 1995 after working at Credit Suisse First Boston since 1988 and not only did he run Merrill’s health care investment banking globally from 2002 to 2008, but he was also head of Asia-Pacific corporate and investment banking in Hong Kong from 2008 to 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

McCann worked at Merrill from 1982 through January 2009 when he joined UBS as head of Americas' wealth management division. In December, he was promoted to oversee all of the Swiss bank’s businesses in the region by Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti, another Merrill alumnus.

The Merrill connections don't stop there.

Last month, UBS announced the appointment of Andrea Orcel, another former Merrill Lynch executive, to serve as co-head of the investment bank alongside Kengeter. Orcel is scheduled to join in July.

There are also scores of wealth managers and marketing executives who followed McCann from Merrill to UBS.

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