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(Bloomberg) -- UBS Group AG’s top investment banker on Tuesday suggested that the Swiss bank may be more at risk from a continued lack of client activity than peers because it’s more dependent on customer trades.

“We see the environment probably more negatively than some of our competitors," Andrea Orcel, the head of UBS’s investment banking operations, told reporters in Hong Kong on Tuesday.

The UBS business model is based around being an intermediary with a limited balance sheet, he said. "This is not an environment that is very good for us."

Wall Street executives flagged last week that lackluster client activity that hurt earnings earlier this year had extended into the third quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. highlighted declines in trading revenue ranging from 15 percent to 20 percent in the third quarter from the same period a year ago.

UBS has pared back the investment bank in the last five years, pivoting the group toward stable wealth management revenues and client-focused investment banking. That left Orcel running a slimmer unit based on deal advisory, equities and research.

“This is an environment that tests the model in as hard a way as we can,” Orcel said. “If you intermediate and people don’t trade, that’s a problem.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Patrick Winters in Zurich at pwinters3@bloomberg.net, Cathy Chan in Hong Kong at kchan14@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net, Christian Baumgaertel, Andrew Blackman

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

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