Today is the day of the UBS European Conference. Sergio Ermotti, UBS CEO, has been making a little presentation.
If you scroll to slide six, you will see the chart below:
What does this slide say? That UBS’s programme to cut headcount, withdraw from uneconomic business areas, improve its IT systems and automate processes is paying off. Revenues per head have risen a massive 47% in the front-office over the past year.
UBS cut headcount in the investment bank by 2,414 people between the third quarter of 2012 and the third quarter of 2013. Those who remain are a lot more productive. They are also paid more – compensation per head in the investment bank rose 12% year-on-year in the first nine months of 2013.
Investment banking has always been an elite industry. As fat is trimmed, UBS’s slide shows that it’s becoming more elite than ever.