UBS Group AG chief executive officer Sergio Ermotti said catching up with Wall Street giants in the US will take time, as the bank seeks to build its product offering in the world’s largest wealth market.

“We have the cost base of a much larger organization in the US but we don’t have the capabilities yet that allow us to fully leverage our global franchise,” Ermotti said at Morgan Stanley European Financials Conference in London on Tuesday. “We need to have a better footprint in the US.”

Following the acquisition of Credit Suisse last year UBS has signaled that the US will be a major plank of the growth strategy, as a region where the Zurich-based bank is still sub-scale compared to major competitors. The bank said it will seek to offer more of its global investment offering to US clients and enable more global customers to book their investments there.

“What we need to do is to institutionalize our relationships in the US much better by having a broader credit offering, a broader offering in terms of deposits,” Ermotti said. “Then we need to bring more of our global capabilities to our clients, do a better job of leveraging the family offices business.”

UBS has tried to take on Morgan Stanley and its peers more directly in the US before. The latest effort, a $1.4 billion deal to buy robo-adviser Wealthfront, had been abandoned by the time Ermotti returned to lead UBS last year.

The Swiss bank has indicated it will now seek to use parts of Credit Suisse’s more muscular investment bank to serve its wealth management clients. “Our financial advisers have the highest level of assets per financial adviser in the industry but still we are not penetrating enough,” Ermotti said.

“For us to make a real difference we need to narrow the gap, and not to try to close the gap and be totally unrealistic about how fast it can happen,” Ermotti said. 

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.