UBS's equities redundancies seem to target senior staff

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UBS's equities redundancies seem to target senior staff

It's still not entirely clear how many people have gone in UBS's latest round of equities redundancies. Insiders suggest it's only a few, but headhunters suggest the cuts are "meaningful" and that there may be more to come.

The names said to be on the at risk list in London include: Shane Edwards, UBS's one-time global head of equity derivatives; Nigel Coleman, Keith Clinker and Awais Sheikh in portfolio trading; Peter Chapman and Adam Kelly in sales trading; and Chris Neale in equity derivatives trading.

UBS declined to comment on the accuracy or not of the names listed, and Edwards, Coleman and Clinker didn't respond to requests to confirm their situations. Sources said there have also been cuts in the U.S., particularly to the prime brokerage business. 

Most of those let go are at director level or above according to headhunters, and many have been at the bank for a long time. Coleman, for example, joined UBS from Credit Suisse in 2009 and Clinker joined in 2006. "This is a targeted cost cutting exercise - they're going for expensive people and high-touch sales guys," said one headhunter, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Shane Edwards joined UBS from RBS in 2012 and was global head of structuring before becoming global head of equity derivatives in 2014.

UBS's equity derivatives and prime business under-performed the market in the first six months of 2019, according to research firm Tricumen, although its cash business didn't too badly. This week's cuts were presaged by Tricumen's 'spider chart' (below) for the first half of 2019. It suggest that revenues per front office employee in UBS's equities business are low compared to the rest of the market. Various other banks (Standard Chartered, RBC, HSBC, Credit Suisse and Citi) were in a similar situation.

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