There appears to be some confusion surrounding UBS bonuses. On one hand, it seems people at UBS won’t be struck by the true size of their bonuses until next week. On the other, it seems UBS bankers on Wall Street have already been informed that they will receive little or nothing for years to come, and that employees on both sides of the Atlantic are seeking gainful employment elsewhere.
As with any situation fraught with intrigue and uncertainty, conditions at UBS have given rise to a blog. WhatUpatUBS has only been around since last Friday, but already contains some interesting observations.
These include the facts that –
1) Jon Bass, head of US fixed income sales, who allegedly resigned to a standing ovation after allegedly instructing his boss to ‘sod off’ last week, has already secured re-employment at BTIG, a little known broker dealer.
2) Robert Gillespie, a UBS banker of 27 years, is now joining Evercore Partners as
senior managing director in the London office.
The anonymous WhatUpatUBS author deduces that UBS bankers are reemployable and speculates that UBS’ apparent decision to deprive managing directors and senior vice presidents of bonuses is part of the age old ploy of encouraging people to leave voluntarily, thereby avoiding redundancy payments.
At the same time, he (she?) complains that UBS is spending ‘hand over fist’ to secure US wealth management talent – something confirmed by Bloomberg today, although the FT also reports that (perversely) UBS has also being trying to flog its brokerage to Morgan Stanley.
UBS declined to comment on the blog. On Friday, however, its CEO sent a memo saying the bank remained committed to all its businesses, including its investment banking franchise.
However, a London-based analyst who covers UBS offers some illumination: “They want to sell the US brokerage as a dynamic organization rather than a floundering business and as a result they need scale.”
Of the UBS bonus scheme and anonymous blog, he says: “UBS want to downsize their investment bank and smaller bonuses are a way of doing so. It sounds like the UBS guys who aren’t getting bonuses are starting a campaign against the bank. They need to learn that the world has changed. The gravy train is over.”