This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, August 14, 2002, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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BRENDA BUTTNER, GUEST HOST: Switzerland's largest bank surprising investors, trimming the fat is attributed for helping UBS Warburg post smaller than expected losses. Joining me now to talk about what's going on in the world of European banking, UBS AG's Peter Wuffli. He is president of the group executive board. Sir, thanks for joining us.
PETER WUFFLI, PRESIDENT, UBS AG GROUP EXECUTIVE BOARD: Hi, Brenda.
And congratulations, a smaller than expected loss. It was cost cutting that helped, mainly?
WUFFLI: Well, it was the resilience of our business model that helped. We could reduce cost in line with revenue declines. But we also succeeded in avoiding race concentrations. We really put our eggs in many baskets and not just in one.
BUTTNER: Your outlook, I mean, that was then. What is next? There is a pretty sour stock market. M&A activities pretty much dried up investment banking, tough business.
WUFFLI: Well, the good news is that the bubble seems to have really burst, and we are back to realistic valuation levels. And so, from that point of view, I do feel that there is room for some recovery, and today's markets have shown it. But we are cautious. We still have a lot of uncertainty in there. And our client assets declined by 11 percent. That will still find its way to reduce revenues with respect to UBS.
BUTTNER: Right. The losses in Europe have not been as great in terms of the stock market as they have been in the United States. Expect them to follow?
WUFFLI: Well, we have seen a fairly strong correction, the European markets as well, particularly in July. So, in Europe as well, we do feel that the valuation levels have reached historic valuation standards.
BUTTNER: And that means time to buy, time to get in?
WUFFLI: Well, yes, that's what we recommend to our clients, that now is the time to very selectively look at stocks and now it is time to reconsider buying.
BUTTNER: A lot of...
WUFFLI: It would be a pity to miss the opportunity.
BUTTNER: A lot of foreign investors have been pulling their money out of the U.S. market and putting it in Europe. Your take on that?
WUFFLI: Well, we obviously do hope and expect that confidence into corporate America comes back with all of the steps that have been taken.
BUTTNER: You mention confidence in corporate America. CEOs here have to sign now on the dotted line and affirm their numbers. You do not. Any thought of just doing that voluntarily?
WUFFLI: Well, we may have to sign as well, since we are New York Stock Exchange listed. But we have been traditionally a leader in transparency. And I feel fully confident into the robustness of our controlled environment. So I would have no problem to certify today.
BUTTNER: Let me ask you about your stock price, because you've actually done, what is it, you are just down 11 percent so far this year, which is quite good compared to other financials. What do you attribute that to?
WUFFLI: It is defensive qualities right now that count, defensive stocks in terms of avoiding race concentration, having strong capital base, having strong cash flows. But we also do invest in our future. So we are investing into European private banking. We have hired 500 financial advisers to date, and have gathered 1.8 billion Swiss franks of net new money in Europe.
BUTTNER: Peter Wuffli, thanks so much for joining us.
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