UBS cutting 40 jobs in Asia-Pacific: Source

HONG KONG • UBS Group is cutting about 40 jobs in the Asia-Pacific as part of a global push to trim costs and combine its trading units, according to a person familiar with the matter.

This comes days after the announcement that Ms Choo Oi Yee, UBS' managing director and head of Singapore corporate client solutions, will leave to join Singapore digital securities iStox next January.

Last month, UBS Asia-Pacific president Edmund Koh told The Business Times that the wealth manager is actively reviewing certain sectors or geographies in which it has exposure in this region.

The staff reduction is roughly split between UBS' markets and investment banking teams, with a majority at the level of vice-president or below, the person said, asking not to be identified because the details are not public.

The Asian divisions - led by Hong Kong-based Mr Taichi Takahashi and Mr David Chin - will see smaller cuts than those in Europe because UBS sees the region as a growth driver, the person said.

UBS has embarked on a sweeping overhaul of its investment bank, reshuffling senior management and combining trading operations in changes that may eliminate hundreds of positions, people with knowledge of the plan said earlier.

Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and HSBC Holdings are also cutting staff to rein in costs as the industry deals with difficult trading conditions, sputtering economies and the impact of trade tensions on cross-border deals.

Mr Mark Panday, a Hong Kong-based UBS spokesman, declined to comment.

The staff reduction is roughly split between UBS' markets and investment banking teams, with a majority at the level of vice-president or below, according to a person familiar with the matter.

As part of its global restructuring, Mr Ros L'Esperance and Mr Javier Oficialdegui are being given charge of the newly named global banking division, which will house public capital markets, private financing and mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

A combined global markets operation, including equities and foreign exchange, rates and credit, will be run by Mr Jason Barron and Mr George Athanasopoulos. Mr Greg Peirce is taking over as global head of M&A, the person said.

The Asian staff reduction is said to have already begun, with a fresh round expected later this month.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 22, 2019, with the headline 'UBS cutting 40 jobs in Asia-Pacific: Source'. Print Edition | Subscribe