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UBS is cutting new MDs and people who thought they were immune

As 2024 turns into a continuation of 2023, with job cuts everywhere from Citi to Nomura, Bank of America and Google, ongoing cuts at UBS are a reminder that last year's biggest disruption is still not done.

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Bloomberg reported that UBS cut at least seven senior bankers in the US yesterday, many of whom look like muscle and not fat. They include: Ryan Lund, the global head of technology banking and John Jansen, the head of technology M&A, and Joseph Lombardo, the bank's head of healthcare equity capital markets. They also include Saqib Rabbani, an MD in the transport and logistics team, who was promoted to MD only 11 months ago.

At the same time, Bloomberg reports that UBS is considering cutting 90 jobs in its Asian banking and wealth teams, of which 70 will come from the private bank.

The latest cuts follow trimming at UBS earlier in the year. UBS hasn't given a number for the total amount of jobs it expects to go following the Credit Suisse acquisition. However, there are suggestions the cuts could affect as many as 35,000 people, of whom only 13,000 had gone at the end of Q3.  

This week's cuts may come as a surprise to those afflicted. UBS has indicated its intention of growing its US banking business, and Sergio Ermotti said in September that the Credit Suisse acquisition meant the bank finally had a "critical mass' in terms of US bankers. Similarly, only five months ago, Iqbal Khan, the head of UBS's wealth management business, was touring Asia, and intimating that jobs there were safe. 

And yet, UBS needs to cut costs, which were 111% of revenues in the investment bank in the third quarter. It onboarded various members of Credit Suisse's healthcare and transportation teams last year, and has clearly discovered some overlap in its US banking team.  Last year, intelligence firm Tricumen predicted that massive overlaps in wealth management could see up 2,000 of Credit Suisse's 3,000 wealth managers leaving. 

UBS declined to comment on the latest cuts. The Swiss bank has been hiring as well as firing, however. It hired Tommy Rueger from JPMorgan as co-head of ECM and Steve Pettigrew from Bank of America as co-head of software banking. To some extent, the current cuts might be considered the result of upgrading. 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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