UBS recortará un 11% su plantilla, 8.700 empleados más serán despedidos
Como podemos leer en los breaking news de FT (UBS to cut 11% of Global Force) o en el Guardian (Swiss bank UBS to cut a further 8,700 jobs), UBS recortará 8.700 empleos tras prever unas pérdidas de 1,7 billones de dólares para el primer trimestre.
Estos datos se han conocido previos a la celebración del meeting anual a celebrar en Zurich, y los mercados han recibido dicho anuncio con una caída del 8,7%
UBS to cut 11% of global workforce
UBS on Wednesday confirmed investors’ worst fears with further heavy losses in the first quarter and a cull of more than 11 per cent of the Swiss banking group’s global workforce.
The steps, to be announced to shareholders at what is likely to be a tempestuous annual meeting in Zurich, mark the first steps by Oswald Grübel to put his stamp on the bank since being appointed chief executive in February.
Mr Grübel, who held the same post at arch rival Credit Suisse until two years ago, is a ruthless cost cutter who was widely expected to review UBS’s operations immediately upon taking office. Although losses and jobs cuts had been expected, Wednesday’s announcement went beyond most forecasts.
UBS shares opened 8.7 per cent lower at SFr12.12 after the announcement.
The bank, which has written down about $48bn on its toxic assets since the start of the credit crisis, said it envisaged a SFr2bn ($1.7bn) loss for the first quarter. That figure was based on new writedowns of about SFr3.9bn on remaining illiquid risks positions and on credit losses. The figure also covered valuation adjustments on the roughly SFr30bn package of toxic securities transferred to a special fund set up with the Swiss National Bank.
UBS said that even after the expected loss, its Tier 1 capital ratio was about 10 per cent at the end of March.
UBS also said it would step up cost savings to address the new business environment, with the forecast that it would reduce its cost base by SFr3.5bn-4bn by the end of next year, compared with last year’s levels. That would mean some 8,700 job losses, taking the total down to about 67,500 in 2010.
“Unfortunately I am not able – as yet – to offer you any good news. Instead I am forced to present you with another round of unsatisfactory performance figures and to announce further drastic measures. Having manoeuvred ourselves into a difficult situation, we are today still not far enough along to be able either to fully protect ourselves from the negative environment or seize new opportunities”, noted Mr Grübel in his speech to shareholders released by the bank just before the AGM.
The bank gave little detail of where the employment cuts would fall, and said further information would come with official publication of its first quarter results on May 5. However, it warned that the core Swiss market, which has so far avoided the worst of the cuts, would be affected. About 2,500 jobs are expected to go there – around half of them through compulsory redundancies.
UBS said the savings and jobs losses would come partly from pulling out of “high risk and unpromising businesses.” That suggested the bank would deepen and accelerate a review of its operations conducted last year that resulted in initial heavy job losses in investment banking and the decision to exit certain areas of the business.
No details of the further review were given, or the activities likely to be affected. “The bank is currently conducting a review to make clear decisions about which businesses it will remain active in and grow, and which it will exit”, UBS said in its statement.
“We see no reason to question the fundamental attractiveness of our integrated business model”, said Mr Grübel.
UBS’s statement put greater stress than ever on international wealth management as the group’s core business, while saying it would maintain its “global expertise“ in investment banking and asset management.
However,it is cutting 240 wealth management jobs in Asia, representing 8 per cent of its private banking workforce in the region.
Damage to the powerhouse wealth management franchise from recent blows to the bank’s reputation also remained glaring in the first quarter, with an outflow of SFr23bn from the core private banking and Swiss business banking operation.
The negative net new money came in spite of initial signs in 2009 that UBS had staunched the massive outflows of last year that followed concerns about its future and the impact of a damaging investigations by the US authorities into allegations that some UBS private bankers had helped rich American clients evade taxes.
UBS said the bulk of the first quarter outflows had come after its $780m settlement in February with the US authorities. The agreement, which covered only criminal charges and came against a continuing civil case, saw the bank being ordered by the Swiss bank regulator to hand over the names of 255 American clients believed to have used sham companies to exploit loopholes in US legislation and evade tax, in a move that not only affected the bank but also shattered confidence in Switzerland’s hallowed bank secrecy.