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Surprise? People are NOT streaming out of UBS

Now that the European bonus pool has likely been wiped out, along with all but $200m of the savings from its existing $2.5bn cost cutting programme, it might be assumed that a lot of people would be busting to leave UBS's investment bank.

They're not.

Based on average annual compensation of $380k a year at the investment bank, UBS would need to make around 6,000 people redundant to recoup its loss. However, headhunters say there's been no increase in the CVs flowing from UBS's equities and fixed income sales and trading businesses - despite the burgeoning sentiment that UBS might be better as a Lazard-esque advisory boutique with a bit of equities on the side.

"I've had one incoming person from UBS," says a leading equities headhunter in London.

"The UBS people we're talking to already are a little more motivated to get out quickly, but most people are willing to see how this plays out," says a partner at a fixed income search firm.

The real problem is the lack of alternative destinations. Most banks now have hiring freezes across equities and fixed income. Even Citigroup, which had been one of this year's big recruiters in London said it was restricting hiring to business critical positions last week.

"If you want to leave UBS right now, where do you go?" says the equities headhunter. "Most guys there would rather wait until Q1 and go to a proper name than move down the food chain to a SocGen or somewhere," he adds.

"The market is very subdued," says another senior equities consultant. "This loss is destabilizing for people at UBS, but there's no bid out there at the moment. No one else is buying."

In fixed income sales and trading, one headhunter claims a lot of people at UBS are still guaranteed. "They kept hiring and guaranteeing in the first quarter of this year," he says. If so, UBS's bonus pool may be even more pressured than we thought.

Meanwhile, some UBS Delta One staff are rushing to distance themselves from Kweku Adoboli. "I have absolutely nothing to do with this," says one. "I am sickened by what has happened and want to make it unequivocally clear that this has nothing to do with me whatsoever."

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Gl
    Glass Half Full
    1 October 2011

    Sometimes its nice to be a big fish in a small pond - working for a 'troubled bank' has its advantages for the young and ambitious - a good opportunity to shine. I've been to a lot of external events and met the 'talent' at other banks - they're not any better. The defining factors at a successful bank is its top leadership and an adequate appraisal system. In my experience too much politics at UBS leads to inadequate managers being promoted through the ranks. This will have to change in order for them to succeed in the future.

  • Da
    Darwin
    20 September 2011

    The sooner UBS disappears like Lehman the better.

  • Ib
    Ibrahim
    20 September 2011

    Loss is really big. I am not sure that UBS can keep going like that. I remember Barings Bank's bankruptcy. Besides after that lesson, I can not really understand how a financial instution can make that mistake again.

  • Bi
    Big Bird
    20 September 2011

    Sarah: "Now that the European bonus pool has likely been wiped out, along with all but $200m of the savings from its existing $2.5bn cost cutting programme"

    You can't have it both ways. If a $2.3bn loss has wiped out all but $200m of the $2.5bn cost savings, fair enough, but then you can't say it's also taken out any bonus pool on top of that, can you? Obviously it makes for a more sensationalist opening paragraph, but most readers here will have basic maths skills and be rolling their eyeballs at that one.

    So yeah. Represent, Sazrin. You out an' about, gurl.

  • Tr
    Trader
    19 September 2011

    There are no jobs to go to. "Talent" would have already left UBS now. The only good people remaining now are negotiating guarantees or unable to get the job they want

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