A-Z Of Employers: UBS

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The Independent Online

What does it do?

The investment bank UBS operates on the global stage, with a major centre of operations in London. The initials stand for Union Bank of Switzerland. Although still referred to in many newspapers as "the Swiss bank", today's UBS is the result of several big-hitting British and US concerns merging with the original Swiss components, a process that began in the late 1980s. Among the names that have now been subsumed are: US brokerage PaineWebber; the London stockbroker, Phillips & Drew; and the US bank, Warburg. Clients benefiting from the financial nous of its employees include businesses, institutions and governments. These customers pay, among other things, for advice on mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructuring programmes and other financial transactions. Among its big deals last year was the sale of David Beckham's razor provider Gillette to Procter & Gamble for nearly £30bn.

Vital statistics

In 2005, UBS worked on 343 company mergers, worth around £250bn. More than 18,000 people work for the bank in 34 countries.

The office

Six thousand of the staff are based in London, most going to the firm's HQ, near Liverpool Street Station in London.

Is this you?

Several hundred graduates are taken on from the UK and across Europe every year, split between departments doing the detailed financial stuff (equities, foreign exchange, raising money on the capital markets) and those running the business (IT, finance, background operations). You'll need at least a 2:1, and be able to fulfil all the familiar requirements of corporate recruitment-land: seeing the bigger picture, working proactively, delivering goals in challenging circumstances, and so on.

The recruitment process

You start by filling in an online questionnaire, at www.ubs.com/graduates, which includes numerical and logical reasoning tests. The subsequent hurdles are a first interview, an assessment centre, where you're bombarded with individual and groups tasks and presentations, and, finally, a second interview. Training lasts between 18 months and two years and differs according to your business area, but common elements include education in how the financial markets work, the sorts of "products" offered to clients, and how UBS is structured. Alongside this, graduates receive formal training sessions in finance-related knowledge and skills, and informal on-the-job training from senior colleagues.

Top dollar?

Strange, but true, how firms that know most about finance say least about their own pay structure. All UBS says is that graduates receive a "market leading" salary with "flexible benefits."

Beam me up, Scotty?

Potential career moves within UBS abound, but you're expected to do your own research, rather than just wait to be asked, particularly if you fancy an overseas offices.

Who's the boss?

Huw Jenkins, 48, a Brit. He's spent his career in finance, and holds an MBA from London Business School.

Little known fact

As part of its commitment to managing waste, the London office recently recycled more than 10 tons of metal filing cabinets.

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