Now that Credit Suisse is eviscerating its London-based investment bank and Deutsche Bank is possibly about to do the same, is UBS the best European investment bank in which to situate yourself?
UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti predictably thinks so. “UBS is in a unique period of strategic clarity," he declared during the Swiss bank's most recent conference call. It helps that UBS isn't in the process of cutting costs, or cutting pay, or raising new capital.
It also looks like UBS's investment banking staff are in particular demand elsewhere. The UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Register reveals that rival firms in London have poached seven people from UBS since August. Over the same period just three people have been poached from Credit Suisse and Barclays respectively and just two people have been poached from Deutsche.
Nor have UBS's staff been exiting exclusively for fifth tier alternatives.
The exits include: Aaron Georghiades, a director in FX sales, who left last month to work on the FX/hedge fund sales desk in Nomura; Constance Germain, an equity derivatives trader, who left this month to work in equity derivatives at Bank of America (which has been busy expanding its global equities business); Zhan Su, a quant trader at UBS, who joined high frequency trading firm Sun Trading in September; and Jonathan Skrine, an emerging markets sales trader, who joined J.P. Morgan in August.
Needless to say, seven people isn't exactly an enormous sample size, and there's always the possibility that people are simply quitting UBS ahead of bonus time. Then again, the discrepancy between exits at UBS and the rest, is noticeable. Even Goldman Sachs has only had four of its staff poached by rivals since August.