UBS suffers another prime brokerage departure

Andrew Sinclair resigns.

Andrew Sinclair, executive director of Asian prime brokerage at UBS has resigned. Sinclair has spent four years with UBS based in Hong Kong and was one of the first people the firm brought on the ground in Asia to build up its regional prime brokerage business from scratch. Sinclair led UBS' sales and marketing effort, which saw the firm's regional hedge fund accounts rise from zero to 40.

Sinclair's departure is a second blow to UBS' regional prime brokerage team, which earlier this month saw the resignation of regional equity finance head and 11-year UBS veteran, Richard Johnston. Industry participants had earlier predicted that Sinclair was a likely candidate to take over Johnston's role.

Sinclair says he decided to leave UBS in order to take up a more attractive and broader role elsewhere. He reveals that in his new position he will have a global role that will see him split his time between Hong Kong and London.

Now in London with his family, Sinclair says that he left UBS on extremely good terms. "They've always been very supportive of me, and my decision to leave was a difficult one."

He is also keen to curb speculation that his departure was in any way related to Johnston's resignation, which was announced only a few weeks earlier. "Richard's departure came as a surprise," he says.

Competitors are wondering if the dual departures at UBS are reflective of deeper problems within the firm. "Something is terribly wrong at UBS, Johnston and Sinclair are both very highly regarded in this industry," remarks one prime broker.

Industry participants expect UBS to fill the two open positions shortly. "Given the importance of this business I'd expect them to fill these roles with their internal global talent," says one source. However, others report that UBS has been actively seeking external candidates.

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