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UBS cuts 500 jobs

Switzerland's largest bank reacts to market conditions (UBS)=

(swissinfo.ch)

Switzerland's largest bank, UBS, has announced it will cut 500 investment banking jobs worldwide.

The company said the move was the result of a downturn in equity trading and merger activities.

"When we were looking at market conditions we felt we had to adjust our headcount to the market," Christof Meier, a UBS spokesman, told swissinfo.

The job cuts will affect some three per cent of the bank's 16,000 employees at its investment banking unit. The bank did not say in what countries the cuts would be made.

Big cuts

UBS has so far avoided the big job cuts that many of its competitors have been forced to make.

But Wednesday's announcement did not take analysts by surprise.

"They generally have been a little bit less zealous in cutting than many other banks, mostly because they didn't have the same bull market build-up as others did," said Piers Brown, a banking analyst at Commerzbank Securities.

The bank said it would continue to add staff in some areas that have performed well - such as the fixed income segment.

"UBS reviews regularly its staffing levels and its cost structure," said Meier.

In January, the bank announced it would cut some 800 positions in 2003.

In the first quarter, the bank reported a fall in investment banking revenues of six per cent to SFr894m ($685m).

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

UBS investment bank employs 16,000 people in 30 countries.
The company's investment banking payroll actually increased by a net of 700 between 2000 and 2002.
The bank reported a six per cent drop in investment banking revenues to SFr894 million in the first quarter.

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