UBS to layoff 35 jobs in Asia-Pacific

Swiss bank UBS AG is laying off about 35 people in the Asia-Pacific region, two people familiar with the situation said, as one of the region's biggest investment banks aims to cut costs amid shrinking revenue globally.

The cuts amount to around 0.5% of the 6,500 people that UBS employs in the Asia-pacific region, one of the people said.

It isn't clear where all the cuts are being made. But in Hong Kong, those laid off include four research analysts, including some who cover China-related stocks, one of the people said. Four members of the bank's information-technology staff in Hong Kong and Singapore have also been cut.

While Asia remains a fast-growing region for the global banks, as surging economies embrace Western-style stock listings and deal making, banks are feeling the squeeze of sluggish markets, a global economic slowdown and the fallout from Europe's debt crisis. Bank of America Corp., for one, is cutting around 20% of its Asia-Pacific managing directors at its Bank of America Merrill Lynch unit by the end of the first quarter.

Among other banks, Nomura Holdings Inc., Daiwa Securities Group Inc. and Samsung Securities Co. are also reducing staff in Asia after expanding rapidly outside their home countries in recent years.

UBS, Switzerland's largest bank by assets, is sharply reducing its global investment bank and shedding flagging businesses as it focuses on its private-banking operations. It said Tuesday that it cut global headcount by 1,101 in the fourth quarter.

But it has a successful investment-banking business in the region, especially in Chinese and Australian deals. UBS made an estimated $504 million in fees in the Asia-Pacific region outside Japan last year, with 4.5% of the investment banking market, according to Dealogic, just behind Credit Suisse Group's $507 million. In the seven prior years, UBS topped the regional rankings for deals in terms of the U.S. dollar value.

France's Société Générale SA is among the other European banks that are scaling back on capital-intensive areas in the region. Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC has said it will eliminate 3,500 jobs globally and exit a handful of business lines, including stock underwriting and mergers-and-acquisitions advisory.

UBS's cuts followed the discovery of unauthorized trades in London caused $2.3 billion in losses. The bank then unveiled plans for a major reduction in its investment bank, saying it would cut the unit's assets by half and return to its roots by focusing on its private bank.

Source: WSJ