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UBS Asia investment banking co-head said planning to depart

[SINGAPORE] UBS Group AG's Asia investment banking co-head, Saurabh Beniwal, is planning to leave as the bank trims senior management ranks in the region, people familiar with the matter said.

Mr Beniwal, who was appointed in November as co-head of corporate client solutions in Asia, will depart UBS by the end of this year, according to the people.

Joseph Chee will remain as sole head of the regional investment banking unit, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

The Swiss bank announced last month that Matthew Hanning is stepping down from his role as head of Asia-Pacific corporate client solutions and will be replaced by global equity capital markets head Sam Kendall.

UBS said Friday pretax profit at its investment bank slumped 48 percent in the second quarter, which the bank partly blamed on a slowdown in its Asia Pacific equities business.

Chief executive officer Sergio Ermotti has eliminated jobs as he seeks to cut costs by 2.1 billion francs (S$2.89 billion) by the end of 2017. Mr Ermotti, 56, said Friday that there's "very little visibility about the near future on all fronts."

Mr Beniwal, a 16-year veteran at UBS, previously held roles including head of Southeast Asia corporate client solutions and head of technology, media and telecommunications for Asia. Angel Yeung, a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for UBS, and Mr Beniwal declined to comment.

The corporate-client solutions group is responsible for mergers advisory, capital markets and financing for companies, financial institutions and private-equity firms.