SINGAPORE: Switzerland-based UBS Group AG is considering eliminating as many as 90 jobs in Asia, most of which are said to be in Singapore and China, a Bloomberg report said on Feb 1 (Thursday).

The global investment bank and financial services firm are just the next in a line of high-profile companies looking to downsize their headcount. In the past year and a half, job cuts have occurred in Asia at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc.

The most recent dismissals occurred at Bank of America, where 20 investment-banking jobs in Hong Kong were cut.

Bloomberg says that UBS may carry out the dismissals in March, quoting individuals familiar with the situation. The affected departments are said to be private wealth and investment banking due to the lower revenues from the stock market rout and fewer deals in China.

About 70 jobs at UBS, plus 20 more in the company’s global banking division, will be cut, although Bloomberg’s sources say that dismissals have yet to be finalized. The company is waiting to see if more will leave voluntarily after bonus payouts are handed out.

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“The jobs to be eliminated in the wealth division may include about 25 relationship managers and supporting roles in the investment and solutions teams, mostly in Greater China and Singapore,” the report added.

Amid China’s economic woes and crisis in its property sector, UBS Group’s job cuts are among the biggest in Asia in terms of retrenchment in private banking. A number of multinational banks in Asia have been eliminating roles in investment banking or reducing executives’ salaries as deals have become rarer.

Bloomberg also said that the job cuts will likely include the Credit Suisse bankers who joined UBS after it bought Credit Suisse in March of last year.  The report added that after the merger, UBS’ wealth management workforce grew to twice the size of its nearest rival.

After UBS’ acquisition of Credit Suisse, a number of senior bankers outside of Asia lost their jobs in the efforts to trim its workforce. The acquisition had caused UBS’ headcount to swell to 120,000.

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UBS announced it was buying Credit Suisse on March 19, 2023, a deal that was closed nearly three months later. UBS paid 3 billion Swiss francs (S$4.97 billion), with backing from the Swiss National Bank.

According to the terms of the deal, Credit Suisse shareholders would receive 1 UBS share for every 22.48 Credit Suisse shares. /TISG

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