Singapore: Swiss bank UBS said it will cut 240 jobs in Asia-Pacific to cut costs, as Asian economies slow in a global financial crisis.
Earlier on Tuesday, banking sources told Reuters the cuts would be made mostly in the wealth management business at all staff levels and included 100 redundancies in Singapore, where UBS is a relatively strong player in private banking.
The cuts come two months after the Zurich-based bank brought former Credit Suisse boss Oswald Gruebel out of retirement to be installed as its new chief executive.
Gruebel has recently signalled further cost cuts would be inevitable.
Many of UBS’s competitors such as Citigroup and Credit Suisse have shed staff in Asia in the last few months as clients stay away from weak markets.
Global banks aggressively expanded in Asia in recent years to tap business as years of fast economic growth and buoyant markets created more millionaires in Asia than anywhere else.
The financial crisis has slashed revenue for many of the global banks as the rich shun financial products and markets.
A UBS spokeswoman in Singapore said the cuts were equivalent to about 3% of its staff in Asia. The bank managed about 130 billion Swiss francs ($115 billion) in assets at the end of last year, according to company data.
The spokeswoman said the staff reduction was a last resort as UBS tries to manage costs due to challenging economic conditions.
Despite the cuts, UBS said Asia remains a “strategic priority” for the group” and a region it will continue to invest in.
Societe Generale last month said it will cut around 10% of staff from its private banking arm in Asia excluding Japan.