As you may have noticed, UBS has been going through some what of a rough patch. Profits are not what they once were, the IRS won't let them help people evade taxes anymore and management has had a very difficult time convincing people not to quit, with a decent amount of senior departures occurring in the last several months. The deflections for the most part have to do with people wanting to get paid (there hasn't been a lot of that in a while at UBS, though some staff recently received raises and higher-ups have pinky-sworn future pay will be competitive with other firms), but the bank is thinking the problem lies less with compensation and more with geography. Specifically, Stamford, CT, where the largest trading floor in the world is located. As we have reported, the equities team will be moving to New York later this summer and after casually mulling over the idea, management is now seriously considering moving the whole shebang, which they believe will solve all problems.
It turns out that a suburban location has become a liability in recruiting the best and brightest young bankers, who want to live in Manhattan or Brooklyn, not in Stamford, Conn., which is about 35 miles northeast of Midtown. The firm has also discovered that it would be better to be closer to major clients in New York City. As a result, UBS is seriously considering a reverse migration that would bring its investment banking division and up to 2,000 bankers and traders back to Wall Street and a new skyscraper at the rebuilt World Trade Center, according to real estate executives and city officials.
“They just can’t hire the bankers and traders they need,” said one landlord who has spoken with UBS but requested anonymity so as not to alienate a potential tenant.
Talks have been held with developer Larry Silverstein about a possible deal at 3 World Trade Center, which conveniently has 5 trading floors located in "Tower 3," and while a move wouldn't happen until 2015, Connecticut officials are extremely worried about the idea of losing the Swiss bank and not just because it'd mean being left alone with RBS. The Mayor of Stamford, Michael Pavia told the Times he and Governor Dannel P. Malloy “are committed to keeping UBS here.” As the bank seems to believe moving to New York will be a cure-all for recent woes and result in the need to beat financial services employees from every firm off with a stick as the vie for positions, it will be a tough sell. The ladies of Beamers can only do so much to entice people to stay, meaning someone ought to seriously start considering making the decriminalization of (small amounts of) marijuana a selling point. Maybe even suggest the lower right quadrant of the trading floor will be converted to a grow-house. Produce some videos starring Ossie Gruebel making love to a bag of weed. Etc. It might get people to stay *and* having employees trade while their minds are expanded could actually help the bottom line.