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UBS justifies payments and reviews goals

UBS is reviewing its mid-term goals as it is suffering from a strong Swiss franc, according to bank chairman Kaspar Villiger.

In an interview with the SonntagsZeitung newspaper, Villiger said the market environment had deteriorated sharply and the regulatory environment was significantly different, making it difficult for the bank to reach its targets, including a pre-tax profit or about SFr15 billion ($17.8 billion).

Villiger said there were no plans for UBS to sell its wealth management business in the United States, despite the unit's disappointing results.

He justified a one-off payment of about SFr5 million to Axel Weber, a former president of Deutsche Bundesbank, to take over from Villiger in 2013. Weber is likely to join the UBS board of directors next May.

“We have to adapt to the global market,” Villiger was quoted as saying.

The payment was sharply criticised by Ethos and Actares, two leading shareholder activists and investor groups, according to the SonntagsZeitung.

Salaries of managers and boards members have become a highly controversial political issue in Switzerland over the past few years. Voters are likely to have the final say on two separate proposals to cap salaries.

Parliament has been struggling to agree legal amendments to counter the people’s initiatives. and agencies

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