UBS Chairman Would Like A Little Credit For All The Investment Bank's Legitimate Achievements

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As you may have heard, UBS has been going through a bit of a rough patch. Despite posting an annual profit (of 7.2 billion Swiss francs) for the first time since 2006, things just haven’t been the same since the crisis, and some have suggested it never will be, claiming that the bank “doesn’t have a chance” getting back to pre-crisis levels because “too much damage has been done.” Not helping things is the fact that there’s been very high turnover in the last couple months, which may have something to do with the fact that people would like to get paid. What you may not have heard is that the investment bank? Is kicking ass, according to Chairman Oswald Gruebel who is kind of confused as to why the media has chosen to ignore the division's "steady progress" but wants employees to know he, for one, has not.

UBS Chief Sends Memo to I-Bankers [NetNet via BI]

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UBS's Investment Banking Head May Have To Slash His Own Expenses "Like A Jewish Shopkeeper"

As those of you keeping up with the many trials and travails of UBS know, the last couple years have been fairly brutal for investment banking chief Carsten Kengeter. Pre-tax IBD profit was down 55 percent YoY through June, employees are constantly on his ass about getting paid, the comments he made in attempt to "rally the troops" re: "slashing expenses like a Jewish shopkeeper" were totally taken in the wrong way, some guy perpetrated a $2 billion fraud (which was partially to blame for CK getting passed over for the promotion he was gunning for), and to top it all off, the higher-ups actually accepted his offer to forgo a bonus for 2011, which he would never have put out there if he thought they'd actually go for it. And now, as a thanks for all his hard work, management is publicly mulling the idea of lightening his load and paycheck. UBS is weighing a shakeup at the top of its investment bank that would give a reduced role to Carsten Kengeter and increased responsibilities to his co-head Andrea Orcel, three people with knowledge of the matter said. The board is meeting in New York today to consider a reorganization of the unit that will include cuts centered on the fixed-income operations that Kengeter has been responsible for since 2008, said the people, who asked not to be identified before the matter is made public. An announcement may come when UBS reports third-quarter earnings on Oct. 30, they said...Three senior executives who declined to speak publicly said they expect Kengeter to leave the bank before long. A person with knowledge of Kengeter’s thinking said he doesn’t plan to go. A UBS official declined to comment. Ermotti told staff in a memo this month he’ll take “all actions necessary” to tackle the “paradigm shift” in banking and will continue “remodeling” UBS. He said in July that the market environment has completely changed since the bank announced reorganization plans for the securities unit in November. UBS May Reduce Kengeter Role in Overhaul of Investment Bank Unit [Bloomberg] Related: Was That Wrong? Should Carsten Kengeter Not Have Done That?

UBS Concerned With The Company Some Of Its Employees Keep

The following is a (not at all comprehensive) list of things that UBS could legitimately be embarrassed about: - Losing so much money that a rogue trader's $2billion loss barely registered above 'meh' on the Do We Care scale - Awarding 4-figure bonuses to managing directors - Employing a guy who "implored bankers to make a more concerted effort to streamline the firm and likened the strategy to slashing expenses like a 'Jewish shopkeeper'" - Having their entire healthcare team decide Jeffereies is a better place to work - Being scammed by a bunch of ops guys - Pulling a reverse Field of Dreams and spending all the money it didn't have to build a 103,000-square-foot trading floor, in a 700,000-square-foot building, that no one wants to work on - Getting no respect from the people of Stamford, who'd prefer "a nice big Costco" move into the space - Having to distribute a step-by-step guide re: how to tie a tie And yet, rather than feel some measure of humiliation about, for instance, the PowerPoint admission that their grown men employees don't know how to dress themselves or taking the time to send out a memo that reads "Subject: Hey, Body: Stop losing so much fucking money!", the bank's execs are going with this: ...Robert Wolf, a top UBS executive in New York, is among President Obama’s leading fund-raisers, building more than $500,000 for his re-election so far this year. A regular presence at big campaign fund-raisers, Mr. Wolf, who is 50, golfs and vacations with Mr. Obama and is known for e-mailing friends photos of himself with the president. While such a close relationship might have been envied by other bankers in 2008, when much of Wall Street was infatuated with Mr. Obama and donated heavily to his presidential bid, it has been making other UBS executives uneasy of late...With media reports pointing out that one of the bank’s top executives is also one of the Obama campaign’s top bundlers — a word that one UBS executive said “makes people’s hair stand on end” inside the bank — the Swiss banking giant has decided to take an unusual step. The bank’s powerful group executive board in Zurich recently presented Mr. Wolf with an edict directing him to report all his media inquiries to the firm’s press office. Since then, most of the requests to speak to Mr. Wolf have been rejected, according to people briefed on the situation, resulting in a much dimmer limelight for Mr. Wolf...“You will clear any and all communications with the press as far in advance as possible,” the directive to Mr. Wolf read. “With respect to activities outside UBS you will, on a best-efforts basis, keep corporate communications informed.” Bosses Reign In Banker Who Golfs With Obama [Dealbook]

Layoffs Watch '12: Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Nomura, Credit Suisse, UBS

Things could be better in Europe. Big investment banks in Europe, including Nomura, Credit Suisse and UBS, are stepping up plans to cut jobs as they seek to adapt to a drastic slowdown in revenues and tighter regulation. Bank executives, headhunters and analysts say that the cuts are shaping up as the deepest since the start of the financial crisis after a disappointing summer dashed hopes of a business revival. One senior headhunter said many large investment banks will have “at least 20 per cent” fewer staff in capital markets and M&A advisory business in Europe by the end of the year compared with late 2011. “It [the market] has never been as bad as this. Bankers have long lost confidence in their banks but now they are also losing their self-confidence, their mojo,” a senior advisory banker said. Among the banks that will reduce their investment banking workforce is Japan’s Nomura, where London-based bankers say that they expect several hundred jobs to be removed in Europe alone as part of a $1bn cost-cutting effort. Switzerland’s largest bank UBS, which cut staff levels earlier than rivals by announcing 2,000 job cuts in the investment bank after a $2.3bn unauthorised trading loss last year, is preparing for intensified cuts as it is seeking to streamline further the unit, several people familiar with the situation said. At Credit Suisse, insiders estimate that the additional SFr1bn ($1bn) in groupwide cuts that were announced in July will translate into up to 1,000 jobs being lost, most of which would be in the investment bank. Analysts expect also Deutsche Bank and Barclays to reduce their headcount further this year. Deutsche said two months ago it would reduce staff levels by 1,900. Investment Banks Eye Europe Job Cuts [FT]