Now’s not a good time to be a mid-ranking banker. But it may be a worse time to be a managing director. Banks everywhere are cutting back on senior staff in an attempt to reshape their hierarchical pyramids. UBS is allegedly the latest place to chuck out expensive MDs and make do with cheaper but equally competent staff below them.
“UBS made a lot of senior redundancies in the past few weeks,” alleges one fixed income headhunter, speaking entirely off the record. “It’s a common strategy in fixed income now that revenues have dropped off,” he adds. “It’s all about downgrading your cost base.”
Recent departures from UBS’s investment bank in London are thought to include Joseph Zacharioudakis, a senior structured products specialist, David Morland, head of ETN trading (who allegedly resigned), Christopher Pind, a director in FX, Michel Wiskerski, a senior rates derivatives salesman in France, and Chris Lupoli, a global inflation-linked strategist (who’s now at HSBC). It’s not clear whether Zacharioudakis and Pind also quit of their own accords.
The Swiss bank has also been ditching senior staff in M&A.
UBS declined to comment for this article. However, one insider said senior bankers are simply being culled because they spread rampantly during the boom years and were therefore out of control. “Trust me – there are still plenty of MDs around here. It’s not a question of losing MDs and replacing them with junior staff – it’s a question of losing MDs and replacing them with better existing MDs, or hiring new ones in.”
A UBS executive director told us it’s preferable to have fewer senior staff above you. “There’s not a fat layer of management at the top and I get more exciting stuff to do,” he said.