Morning Coffee: Why UBS bankers don’t need more money. The London fintech shift
When senior managers at global banks have made public pronouncements lately, they have tended to heap pressure on their employees to become less expensive and more efficient...or face the axe.
But nobody seems to have told Juerg Zeltner, UBS’s private banking head, to play by the pile-pressure-on-staff game. In what Finews calls his “surprising frankness” Zeltner appears to have lightened his bankers’ load. Speaking at a press conference, Zeltner said that UBS is “not looking for net new money” and will not put his department “under this pressure”.
In other words, new client assets – traditionally the toughest of all targets for wealth managers to hit – are no longer a performance measure for UBS.
Zeltner’s statements may not be quite as altruistic as they seem, however. In the current market, taking on more and more client money can often lead to increased costs. While UBS now manages CHF300bn more than in 2009, its income from these assets hasn’t risen.
Separately, Berlin’s fintech industry has been in a buoyant mood since June 24 when the UK voted to leave the European Union. “Berlin will exploit the opportunity provided by Brexit,” Cornelia Yzer, Berlin’s economics minister, said bluntly in the aftermath of the vote.
The German capital wants not only to dethrone London as Europe’s main fintech centre, but to poach its best digital talent. And Berlin tech firms and lobbyists have been trying their best to get London start-ups and their staff to relocate.
But do the City’s fintech entrepreneurs want to move? Now, two months on from the Brexit, signs are emerging that some of them actually do. Several Berlin fintech firms have now told Reuters that applications from UK-based candidates are surging.
Berlin peer-to-peer platform Friendsurance says UK applications more than doubled in July and August. FinLeap, a fintech company builder, has received 50 senior British-based resumes in just the last six weeks.
At Spotcap, a Berlin online lending firm, the number of candidates from Britain has doubled to about 20% of all CVs since the Brexit decision – and some of these people are “very senior banking applicants”. Of course, it’s one thing to send in your CV and another to move to a city which remains a much smaller fintech hub than London. But FinLeap alone has interviewed 20 UK candidates post-Brexit – and five of them already have job offers.
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