Warburg hits iceberg

Just when you thought it was safe to file a UBS Warburg business card, another rebranding emerges...

For a bank whose rebrandings have displayed marginally more permanence than ice sculptures, it will nevertheless surprise our readers that UBS Warburg has unveiled another rebranding.

UBS Warburg is to drop the Warburg name and become plain and boring UBS.

Many will wonder why the bank is choosing to change the name now. Everyone has got used to it and the firm has seen success in many fields, and has done especially well in Asia over the past 18 months.

The Warburg name is a legacy of SG Warburg, that once-great firm that helped create the eurobond markets. This in turn was bought by SBC and became SBC Warburg - before then becoming Warburg Dillon Read and UBS Warburg after the merger between UBS and SBC.

This means some of SBC's more loyal staff will now be moving onto business card number five.

The Painewebber brand - which was acquired a couple of years ago - will also cease to exist. Chairman, Marcel Ospel says the move is designed to signal the firm's "unity, strength and momentum". President, Peter Wuffli reckons that "strengthening and simplifying our brand identity and systematically capitalising on it forms a key part of our organic growth drive."

That may be so, but cultures are strange things and something intangible could be lost by this latest move. Whether it matters to anyone other than the Brits in the firm, only time will tell.