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UBS announces controversial pay rises

Bank UBS has hiked the salaries of some investment bankers to guard against staff poaching by competitors.

Switzerland’s largest bank confirmed a report in the Sonntag newspaper that it was increasing the pay of some of its managers, but declined to comment on the details.

“There have been off-cycle salary increases at UBS Investment Bank to retain employees in critical positions,” UBS spokesman Andreas Kern said, adding it was usual to adjust compensation to the market environment.

Sonntag reported that hundreds of UBS staff at the investment bank, with salaries of around SFr270,000 Swiss francs ($243,200) on average, were receiving 50 per cent higher wages to compensate for the loss of usual bonuses.

UBS chairman Kaspar Villiger said on Saturday that the bank was losing key staff in important areas to competitors and had to react.

However, executive pay rises do not go down well with the Swiss public.

In a survey in the SonntagsZeitung newspaper, 75 per cent of voters said they would favour government-imposed restrictions on management pay in Switzerland.

A nationwide vote on such an issue could take place in around a year’s time.

swissinfo.ch with agencies

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