UBS has a plan to move around 2,500 jobs to low-cost locations such as Poland, India, China, and Nashville over the next year.
The bank announced fourth-quarter results on Tuesday, and in an accompanying presentation, it set out examples of cost cuts in the corporate center, which houses things like human resources and IT.
As the chart below shows, the bank has created 500 jobs in Nashville since the end of 2014, and plans to add another 100.
Admittedly, that isn’t a huge number. The Americas business at UBS made 2.8 billion Swiss francs in the fourth quarter of last year. Still, it is striking that 27% of staff in the corporate center now work in offshore or “nearshore” locations, up nine points in two years.
In Poland, the bank expects to add another 1,300 staff, while it expects to have 1,800 staff in Pune by the end of this year. It also expects to add 400 more staff in Shanghai.
“In addition to lower future personnel expenses, this is allowing us to realise efficiency in high-cost real estate,” group chief financial officer Kirt Gardner, said on a conference call.
UBS isn’t the only bank heading down this road. A number of banks have cottoned on to the fact that you don’t need to house back-office staff in high-end New York or City of London real estate. They can do the same job, (and probably have a better quality of life), out in Nashville.
Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman said on the bank’s fourth quarter earnings call that staff would be moved to lower-cost locations.
“Too many employees based in high-cost centres are doing work that can sensibly be done in lower-cost centres,” he said. “Now is the time to tackle head-on our infrastructure costs.”
Goldman Sachs has moved thousands of jobs to places such as Salt Lake City, while Deutsche Bank has a big office in Jacksonville, Florida.
Here’s the key bit from UBS presentation:
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