Contribute to Retirement Accounts

Without a doubt, the long term trend is that individuals will be responsible for funding their own retirements.  Gone are the days of the lifelong company pension, and even government jobs are offering fewer retirements benefits than they used to provide.  If a person doesn’t know where to start, a good idea would be the HR office, for an explanation of how to participate in the company 401k (or 503b for public employees).  Another good option would be to walk into a bank or brokerage company branch (Charles Schwab, Ameritrade, UBS, etc.) to discuss opening up an IRA or Roth IRA account.

Value of an MBA Degree

A question which comes up among the UBS analyst community, and the banking and financial services community more broadly, is “Is an MBA worth it?”  This question has always been asked, but as the cost of a top program soars toward $200 thousand for two years of education, each potential applicant has to consider the question.

Fundamentally, I would come down on the side of: if you can enter a Top 10 program such as Stanford GSB, HBS, or Wharton, there is still tremendous value in the MBA programs.  The networking and recruiting opportunities will last the length of a career, and a positive monetary return is highly likely.  The question becomes more serious when considering a less recognized program, which will cost just as much but provide far less career jet fuel.

UBS Faces Significant Impact of Swiss Government Currency Protection Change

Swiss government today lifted its protection on the strength of the Swiss franc.  The immediate impact is to significantly strengthen the Swiss franc against the US dollar and the Euro.  For Swiss corporate giants such as UBS which earn significant revenue in US dollar-denominated currency, the danger is that when these revenues are restated for Swiss accounting purposes, they will result in much lower revenue when expressed as Swiss dollars.

The impact will be somewhat eased by the fact that UBS also already holds a significant asset base in Swiss francs.  The value of these UBS holdings was instantly boosted by today’s action.  In any event, this action will assuredly impact how UBS executes its global growth strategy, and how it allocates its internal investments.

–Tim Shields, UBS

Philadelphia Eagles End Season on Positive Note

Before earning an MBA from Stanford University, Timothy (Tim) Shields was an associate with JP Morgan in New York. The Stanford graduate now leads portfolio and program management efforts for UBS in Chicago. Outside of his professional pursuits, Timothy Shields is avid sports fan and supports teams like the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Eagles recently played the last game of their 2014 season, and the team’s head coach, Chip Kelly, thanked the players prior to the game. In his address to the team, Kelly reflected that the players offered their all each time they played and were consistently receptive to their coaches’ instruction. The head coach noted that, despite a number of injuries during the season, his players stayed positive and committed to their teammates.

Although the team was ineligible for playoff participation, it finished the season with a 34-26 win against the New York Giants. Kelly stated that the win reflected the team’s persistent motivation and ability to overcome obstacles.