Banking giant UBS has announced massive layoffs along with huge losses in its third-quarter results, saying it aims to trim as many as 10,000 employees to drastically shrink its ailing investment bank.
Switzerland’s biggest bank said that as part of the cost-cutting drive it “is likely to have a headcount of around 54,000” by 2015, down from its current 64,000 employees among 57 countries. Up to 2,500 employees would be affected in Switzerland, with the rest of the cuts taking place in Britain and the United States.
“This decision has been a difficult one, particularly in a business such as ours that is all about its people,” said CEO Sergio Ermotti. “Some reductions will result from natural attrition and we will take whatever measures we can to mitigate the overall effect. Throughout the process we will ensure that our people will be supported and treated with care.”
The UBS cuts will be one of the biggest bonfires of finance jobs since the implosion of Lehman Brothers, adding to the tens of thousands of jobs the financial sector has shed globally since the financial crisis of 2008.
UBS also announced a net loss of SFr2.17 billion ($2.31 billion) for the third quarter, compared with a profit of SFr1.02 billion during the same three-month period last year. This was in large part due to restructuring costs.
The bank also attributed some of the declining profit to a pre-tax charge of SFr863 million linked to an accounting rule on how banks must value their debt.
In what it called “a significant acceleration” in its transformation, the Zurich-based bank said it would sharpen its focus on the investment bank and appoint a new executive to lead it.