UBS investment bankers can finally breathe a sigh of relief

Andrea Orcel UBSUBSAndrea Orcel, president of UBS’ investment bank

After drastic staff cuts in recent years, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel for UBS Group.

Andrea Orcel, president of UBS’ investment bank, thinks the unit’s workforce has reached the right size for now, according to a Bloomberg Television interview Tuesday.

“We are exactly where we should be to face the environment that we have, to face the regulation that we have,” Orcel said. “At this point in time, I wouldn’t use the term comfortable, but I’d just say confident that the organisation has done – especially the investment bank- the hard work it requires to do in order to face this environment from a position of strengths.”

The Swiss bank has significantly scaled back since October 2012, specifically in the fixed-income-trading department. At that time, in a bid to improve profitability, the UBS board announced a plan to slash around
10,000 jobs over the next three to five years, with the bulk of the cuts at its investment bank unit.

Rival traders used to sneer at the phrase “doing a UBS,”
though that became ubiquitous as Wall Street aims for a leaner, smarter future.

While there’s no room for net hiring in the current environment, Orcel said the bank won’t stop looking for talent selectively, highlighting needs for Asia, Europe and the US.

The potential for more job cuts is still there, however, if regulations further tighten, competition toughens, or market conditions worsen. Whether the unit meets performance expectations is also key.

Head over to Bloomberg for the full interview.

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