Just how desirable is UBS as an equities employer these days?
On one hand, its list of equities-related achievements remains long: UBS is still the leading equities house in Europe and claims to be gaining market share; it was voted Number 1 Research house for the eighth year running in Institutional Investor’s last client survey and voted the leading pan-European brokerage firm for equity and equity linked research for the eighth year running in Thomson Extel’s most recent survey.
On the other hand, it’s rumoured that no one wants to work there any more.
“I’ve spoken to three separate people who are out of the market, but who say they still wouldn’t consider a position at UBS,” says one equities headhunter. “Along with other banks that have received money from governments, there’s a question mark over how they’re going to pay people,” says another.
Fortunately, UBS is far from being in expansion mode, meaning its ability to attract talent en-masse is unlikely to be tested any time particularly soon. On Sunday, Swiss newspaper Sonntag reported that it’s about to report another 8,000 redundancies and another $2bn of writedowns.
UBS is, however, likely to need replacement hires for the four man portfolio trading team which left for ICAP earlier this month. The bank declined to comment on whether it’s mandated headhunters to fill the gap, but it’s rumoured to be looking.
“It’s certainly an unhappy place,” says one equities headhunter working for the Swiss bank. “But the portfolio trading vacancies are also a good opportunity.”