UBS Investment Banking Chief Tries The Tough Love Approach

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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. While a handful of marquee names (within the industry) have been lured with big checks, many senior bankers have heard nary a peep re bonuses in several years (and the staff's pay overall is nothing to write home about, either). As one might imagine, tension is running high and recently within the investment bank, there's been a decision, among those who've yet to quit, to air their grievances. The reaction from management? Put a sock in it.

On early morning conference calls, UBS AG investment-banking chief Carsten Kengeter has told senior bankers that he was done with their complaints about pay. "You just don't get it," he told thousands of bankers on more than one recent call, according to bankers who were on the call. "He told us that bankers are spoiled children and we're the ones who messed this place up," said one senior banker who recently left the firm. "You would get off the calls and think, 'how can I stay here any longer?'"

So, actually not quite sure what to make of this. On the one hand, people should be compensated for the work they do, especially those who didn't contribute to the multi-billion dollar losses. On the other, UBS did fuck up, and not in a small way, and perhaps a little slap in the face to jolt everyone back to reality is warranted?
At UBS, Complaints And Exits [WSJ]

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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?