Merged bank revises UBS job losses

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The Independent Online
Half of the 400-strong workforce in the London-based equities division of UBS, the Swiss bank that is merging with SBC, was facing the sack yesterday, fewer than initially expected.

The UBS staff - including numerous highly rated analysts - failed to secure jobs at Warburg Dillon Read, the new investment bank.

The two banks intend to roll out their new equities department under the Warburg Dillon Read banner on 2 March. Affected employees are being summoned by telephone and told whether they have secured jobs at the new bank. But by mid-afternoon only a handful of staff had received calls.

One analyst said: "I haven't been told yet - very few people have. I think it's going to be a three day thing."

At 4pm UBS staff, most of whom spent the day anxiously sitting by the phone, were informed that, if they had not yet received a call, they would not be spoken to until at least tomorrow. This development - described as "incredibly frustrating" by one source - led to an exodus from the equities floor as analysts packed up for the day.

High-profile casualties of the merger include John Aitken, the banking analyst, and Richard Hannah and Matthew O'Keefe, the transport team. All three were highly rated by the City.

Mr Hannah has been an outspoken critic of the various fundraising attempts conducted by SBC Warburg on behalf of Eurotunnel.

David Robins, head of UBS in Europe, is another big name expected to fall by the wayside. Mr Robins is currently heading the integration of SBC and UBS, but has not been offered a permanent post at the bank. Sources expect him to leave once the merger has been completed.

Colin Buchan, global head of equities at the new bank, yesterday confirmed the banks initially considered cutting many more UBS jobs, but raised the number of offers as management became increasingly impressed with UBS employees.

Other sources attribute the change of heart to intense lobbying by Hector Sants of UBS, a well-respected City figure and joint European head of equities at the new bank.

News of the cuts came as an independent survey revealed the combined force of UBS and SBC. Institutional Investor magazine said SBC Warburg's equity research topped the league tables for the seventh year in a row. UBS came third.

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