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(Bloomberg) -- UBS Group AG Chief Financial Officer Kirt Gardner said the bank is being "constantly approached" regarding its asset management business amid a pickup in industry consolidation.

"We are starting to see some consolidation in the industry," the CFO of the world’s largest wealth manager told investors at a conference in London organized by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. "Many banks that are owners for asset management see it as way to address capital challenges," a trend he said is likely to continue.

Still, UBS considers itself as the "natural owner" of the unit and sees the business generating significant value over the next years, he said.

Asset managers are under pressure from the surge in index-tracking funds, which allow investors to avoid fees by keeping selling and buying to a minimum. At UBS, the business has yet to generate 1 billion Swiss francs ($1.03 billion) in annual pretax profit, a target set in May 2014. It contributed 7.2 percent to pretax profit, or 452 million francs last year -dwarfed by larger wealth management and investment banking operations.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Winters in Zurich at pwinters3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net, Cindy Roberts, Jon Menon

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

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