Swiss bank UBS set to cut 3,500 jobs

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The Independent Online

UK employer UBS became the latest banking giant to announce job losses today as it struggles with a sluggish global economy and increased regulatory pressures.

The Swiss firm, which employs around 6,000 staff in the UK and 65,000 worldwide, said it would reduce its headcount by 3,500 as part of a bid to save 2 billion Swiss francs (£1.5 billion) by the end of 2013.

The job cuts, which were signalled last month and were less than the 5,000 initially feared, will come predominantly from its investment bank and wealth management division. UBS could not specify the number of losses in the UK.

The move comes after Britain's biggest banks announced a bloodbath of job cuts across the industry, with Royal Bank of Scotland culling 2,000 staff, HSBC losing 30,000, Barclays chopping 3,000 and Lloyds Banking Group shedding 15,000.

Fears over global growth have led to increased risk aversion and lower client activity at UBS as well as a decline in pre-tax profits, which dropped 23% quarter on quarter to 1.7 billion Swiss francs (£1.3 billion) in the three months to June 30.

The bank blames the need to cut costs on the economic downturn as well as regulatory changes, such as the Basel III rules which require the bank to hold more capital.

The job losses will be achieved through redundancies but also through natural attrition - that is, not filling roles which are voluntarily vacated.

UBS said it expects restructuring charges of 550 million Swiss francs (£423.8 million) for the cost-saving plans, most of which will be booked in the second half of 2011.

Around 1,600 jobs will go at its investment bank, 1,200 at its wealth management arm, 350 in global asset management and 175 in wealth management Americas.

The majority of UK jobs are at the company's investment bank and wealth management divisions.

Some of Britain's banks, including RBS, have warned that regulatory changes proposed by the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) will result in a further increase in costs. The ICB releases its report and findings on September 12.

PA

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