Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- UBS Group AG’s investment bank workforce is the right size after thousands of job cuts in recent years, even as challenges emerge from the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union, division president Andrea Orcel said in an interview.

“We are exactly where we should be to face the environment that we have, to face the regulation that we have,” Orcel said when asked about the potential for more dismissals in a Bloomberg Television interview with Erik Schatzker for broadcast Tuesday. The firm was still paring staff just a few months ago.

Orcel listed caveats: Further tightening of regulation, a worsening of market conditions or harder competition could force the bank to make more cuts. The division’s performance also will have to meet expectations.

The remarks are a shift from May, when UBS said it would eliminate more costs after the investment bank’s profit tumbled 67 percent in the first quarter. The business remains focused on constraining expenses, and while it’s always looking to add talent, net hiring is off the table, Orcel said. The company has imposed a partial hiring freeze at its wealth-management business, people with knowledge of the matter said Monday.

U.K. Staffing

Challenges aren’t abating for investment banking and securities businesses, especially after the U.K’s Brexit vote, which rocked the investing world. 

Markets are now “fragile and uncertain,” said Orcel, 53, who joined the Zurich-based bank in 2012. If financial firms in London lose their passporting rights and Euro clearing moves to the Continent, it would have a “significant impact” on where UBS employs bankers, he said.

“We would need to consider moving a number of our employees to a European Union country,” Orcel said, without specifying a number. “The French government, the German government, a number of governments are making, if I may call it this way, a case for people to move to their jurisdiction.”

UBS scaled back the investment bank in a strategic overhaul at the end of 2012 to focus on wealth management. It’s the world’s biggest manager of money for rich people.

Trading revenue at the firm may have dropped 13 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, analysts at Deutsche Bank AG estimated last week. Revenue from trading was down by 25 percent in the first quarter.

“I would not think that many people expect this year and next year, but certainly this year, to be a bumper year,” he said, of compensation. “This year is going to be a tough year for everyone.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Noah Buhayar in Seattle at nbuhayar@bloomberg.net, Jeffrey Vögeli in Zurich at jvogeli@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Simone Meier at smeier@bloomberg.net, Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net, David Scheer, Dan Reichl

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