Blood on the floor at Swiss banks

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UBS and Credit Suisse are both preparing to extract staff. The red stuff is likely to flow far more freely at UBS.

New UBS chief exec Marcel Rohner told shareholders at the bank's annual general meeting today that details of the new cuts will be provided next month, but they'll be in addition to the 1,500 already announced.

Credit Suisse revealed yesterday that it plans to eliminate another 500 investment banking jobs, and is expected to unveil its first quarterly loss in half a decade when it announces its results tomorrow.

UBS bankers are in the biggest pickle. The bank has made $37.4bn of writedowns so far, almost entirely related to an untimely rush into CDOs and other structured credit products, and is now planning to shear its investment banking arm to a fraction of its size and put an end to cross-subsidisation from the private bank.

Credit Suisse is merely cutting a few hundred jobs across M&A, fixed income, equities trading, and the back office.

Bankers with a Swiss bent may conclude Credit Suisse is the better bet.

"The pull-back in staff and capital at UBS' investment bank is going to make it very difficult for it to compete in future," says David Williams, head of European banks research at Fox-Pitt Kelton. "Of the two, Credit Suisse looks like it's more committed - its problems are tiny compared to those at UBS," he adds.

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