Citigroup asked a long list of people if each one of them wanted to take over the bank after “the Prince of the Citi” got the boot. In the end, every single one of the invitees said no, except for Vikram Pandit, whom Chuck Prince awkwardly inserted into the top echelon of Citigroup’s management as part of a purge to stave off a coup from his own lieutenants. It’s as if Nazi Germany had fallen to the Allies, but a year or two later the Vichy French were allowed to take over France because France was so bombed out that nobody else wanted to run the country.
The worse piece of news, however, is that Robert Rubin used the occasion to make his exit from Citigroup. Rubin has a huge fortune, and he could stand to be destroyed if he certified Citigroup’s balance sheet and the company subsequently melted down. It’s not a good sign that Rubin has jumped ship.
I said UBS was a good buy a long time ago, relative to the other banks. UBS is probably the only company which has (reportedly) “marked to ABX,” and they have something like $1.8 trillion in their “wealth management” unit. Non-volatile cash flow at a fat discount.
Of course, I said that last quarter too. But I’d buy UBS well before any other.