UBS axes equity staff

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UBS has fired 30 US equities traders, understood to be approximately 10% of the team, as it becomes the latest bank to cut staff in response to the move towards electronic trading.

The bank said in a statement: "With all our businesses, we regularly review our cost structure and staffing levels. We are the leading provider of cash execution to clients around the world and the leading trader of shares in the US and globally. We are committed to the cash equities business and continue to invest in it."

In February Goldman Sachs fired 30 equity traders and reassigned four traders to new sales trading positions in response to client requests for more electronic trading access.

In March, Citigroup eliminated 1,440 jobs in its global corporate and investment bank, including its equity division, which shed about 500 jobs and the bank has also bought a direct-market access technology company.

Analysts also believe that new regulations passed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission will encourage more electronic trading, as firms are required to seek the best price execution for clients across trading venues, including the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.

The NYSE is in the process of merging with Archipelago, the electronic exchange operator, and Nasdaq is acquiring Instinet, the electronic trading platform.

Yesterday The Boston Stock Exchange said it is to launch an electronic stock exchange next year with Citigroup, Credit Suisse First Boston, Fidelity Brokerage and Lehman Brothers.

UBS changed senior equities management in June when John Costas quit as head of UBS Investment Bank to run a new internal hedge fund. Huw Jenkins, previously head of equities, replaced Costas as head of invesment banking and Daniel Coleman, head of equities, Americas and John Wall, global head of equity trading replaced Jenkins as joint global heads of equities.

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