UBS to separate businesses after Q2 loss

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UBS AG will separate its business into three autonomous units, after it identified weaknesses in its integrated one-bank strategy, the embattled Swiss bank said on Tuesday.

UBS, Europe's hardest hit victim of the credit crisis, announced the shake-up after it made a loss in the second quarter of the year of 358 million Swiss francs ($332 million), slightly worse than expected.

The period was also characterized by heavy funds outflows in its wealth management business of 17.3 billion francs. Global asset management had net outflows of 24.5 billion francs.

The global markets turmoil has plunged UBS into the worst crisis in its history. As demand for risky mortgages and other debt dried up, the bank has been forced to write down billions of dollars in the value of its investments.

As well as fighting calls for the group's break-up, UBS has also had to defend its conduct throughout the crisis.

Last week, it agreed to buy back almost $19 billion of bonds after New York State and others sued it for steering clients towards auction-rate securities - debt which became impossible to sell after the market froze. UBS said this would cost it $900 million.

UBS is also under fire from US congressional investigators, who say the Swiss bank helped US clients dodge taxes. (Reuters)

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