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January 3, 2006

UBS Digests Schwab

By Peter Chapman

UBS is winding down a yearlong reorganization of its equities trading group.

This month, the big bank plans to move its Bulletin Board and Pink Sheets trading operation from New Jersey to its headquarters in Stamford, Conn. The move of the OTC desk is the final phase of a reorganization underway since UBS bought the Jersey City-based Schwab Soundview Capital Markets last year.

All Nasdaq and listed trading is now consolidated on UBS' cavernous trading floor in Stamford.

Schwab sales traders based in Jersey City either moved to Stamford or into a new office in Jersey City. Jim Raphalian, Schwab's former head of sales trading, now runs the Jersey City office. Schwab sales traders in San Francisco moved in with UBS' research sales crew. Schwab sales traders in Boston joined with their UBS counterparts across the street.

Schwab's dealer services group remained in Jersey City and operates under the banner of UBS Capital Markets.

Of the total Schwab staff of 400, about 100 traders and sales traders were retained. Most of those let go were involved with Schwab's research operation, according to UBS chief operating officer Larry Leibowitz. UBS also integrated Schwab's proprietary order management system into its institutional trading technology infrastructure. The move allowed the bank to jettison its OMS from SunGard/Brass as well as technology from Lava Trading.

Leibowitz, one of two execs who ran Schwab, became UBS' COO recently. His promotion was part of changes at UBS that saw the departure of longtime Nasdaq trading head Jack Francis and the promotion of Bob Harrington to head U.S. cash equities trading.