If you’re a graduate looking for a job with long-term stability, UBS’s fixed income division is, in theory, not the place to go. However, not only has the bank been hiring for FICC at the experienced end, it’s been recruiting at a graduate level for business lines within its fixed income business.
UBS is looking for a handful of graduate recruits for its credit and rates trading divisions this year – around seven people, according to students we spoke to. UBS has been advertising the roles within the FICC division of its Investor Client Services business (the relatively new name for its sales and trading business), but according to some applicants, they haven’t proven particularly popular – one student told us that they applied to the equities division, but were offered an interview for a trading position in the fixed income division.
UBS has, in theory, been the only investment bank to provide clarity on its strategy, with the likes of RBS and Barclays still in the midst of a strategic shake-up. In October 2012, it said that it would focus on “traditional strengths in advisory, research, equities, FX and precious metals and by exiting business lines, predominantly those in fixed income” and that 10,000 people would be made redundant.
A UBS source says: “Rates and credit is an important division within our investment bank and has been doing extremely well this year – part of the reason why our IB has a 34% adjusted return on equity YTD – better than any other investment bank on the street.”
Since the third quarter of 2012, the axe hasn’t been particularly liberally swung within UBS’s investment bank – it employs 11,877 people, down from 14,291 at the same point last year.
However, one graduate interviewing at the bank suggested that grads were a cheap way of replacing lost headcount: “Many teams also now have available headcount for grads to come in from the numerous recent cuts. Grads provide a cheap way to replace high earning individuals who weren’t previously showing their worth and got culled,” he said. “The majority of fixed income positions were in rates.”
Cost-cutting within particular divisions of an investment bank is no guarantee that graduate recruitment will suffer in turn. After the financial crisis of 2008, when many investment banks heavily curtailed graduate recruitment only to feel the pain two years later, so most firms have kept their intake consistent despite challenges elsewhere. RBS, for instance, has also been hiring graduates for its M&A division, despite stating its intention to exit the business.