Slump in M&A activity forces UBS to axe 500 investment bank jobs

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Europe's biggest bank, UBS, is cutting 3 per cent - or 500 jobs - from its worldwide workforce in a bid to cope with the slump in mergers and acquisitions and the global economic downturn.

The jobs will go from the bank's investment banking business as well as from a number of back office functions. UBS, which dropped its historic Warburg moniker earlier this year, cut 10 per cent of its London investment banking staff a year ago but has avoided the deep cuts to headcount that some of its bigger Wall Street rivals have made since the stock market started to collapse in 2000.

The most recent cuts by UBS are thought to include more than 15 per cent of the 600 employees in the European group that focuses on mergers, share sales and other corporate advice. UBS, which is headquartered in Switzerland, said: "We regularly review our cost structure and that move brings us in line with market conditions."

Total job losses from banks in the City and on Wall Street are estimated to have exceeded 100,000 in the past three years. The bank said it would continue to recruit in areas where revenues are more buoyant such as fixed income. In the first quarter, UBS reported a fall in investment banking revenues of 6 per cent to SFr894m (£457m).

Separately, Morgan Stanley and Bear Stearns also painted a gloomy picture, saying second-quarter net income fell as revenue from investment banking and asset management declined.

Net income at Morgan Stanley, the second-biggest US investment bank by capital, fell 25 per cent to $599m. Bear Stearns, the sixth biggest, said earnings were $280m.