Due Diligence

UBS Cuts Costs and Heads, But Hires FAs

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UBSUBS may be cutting jobs but it’s still hiring financial advisors. The firm announced today that it would cut 3,500 jobs as part of a previously announced plan to cut costs by CHF 2 billion by the end of 2013. About 10 percent of those job cuts, or 350 individuals, will come out of the Wealth Management Americas (WMA) division.

But as was addressed in the UBS second quarter conference call, none of the WMA’s 6,862 financial advisors, or any of its client-facing sales support people, will be let go, said spokeswoman Karina Byrne. Instead, the cuts will include some operations, information technology, and legal and compliance people. In the second quarter, UBS hired a net 51 financial advisors and plans to continue hiring.

In a memo to FAs Tuesday, Bob McCann, CEO of UBS WMA addressed the job cuts, saying “they will have little to no direct effect on you, our Advisors.” He further noted that, “In WMA, we have instituted a number of changes throughout the past 18 months to appropriately align our business to the market and economic environment. In key markets across the U.S., we continue to hire quality advisors that you would be proud to call your colleagues.” He continued, “Our business as it stands today is properly positioned to compete and win, better than ever before, and I remain confident in our people, our company and our bright future ahead.”

UBS WMA turned a corner in the first quarter of 2011, notching its first quarterly profit in a year. McCann has set a pretax profit target for the WMA division of $1 billion. Over the past 18 months, UBS WMA has taken some layoff charges and downsized some branches.

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