Last month we discussed the possibility of UBS moving out of its Stamford, CT building (which houses the largest trading floor in the world) and into New York City. The bank, which has not been doing too hot of late, seems to believe that leaving Stamford would be a panacea for all its woes which, according to UBS, boil down to no one wanting to work in Connecticut (rather than no one wanting to work at a place that doesn’t pay and yells at you when you ask if this month’s check will clear). Until recently, the talk has all been very casual, though it got kicked up a notch to semi-serious when word got out that senior execs had been speaking with developer Larry Silverstein about a possible deal at 3 World Trade Center, which conveniently has 5 trading floors located in “Tower 3," causing more than a few people to flip out over the idea of a UBS-less Stamford. Still, though, the bank will more than likely be sticking it out for the next few years if not longer and may simply be playing games in order to get city/state officials to sweeten their stay. To that end, the news that 50 "cash trading" employees were moved to New York today shouldn't be too distressing. Or should it?
Is this how it starts? The 50 guys and girls move and then they come back for a visit and they start telling everyone what it's like out there. The whispers make it up the food chain and eventually "we're staying, we're not going anywhere" becomes "start packing your shit, the next Metro North train leaves in 16 minutes." Sure, What's The Big Deal? So They Move Out And A Nice Big Costco Moves In-Guy won't give a rat's ass, nor will the dude who's psyched about the potential $300/month in commuting savings but what about Family Man who said this?
“I moved up here from New York City 16 years ago because of UBS,” said the trader, who would not give his name. “They were relocating, so I said, O.K., here we go. I met my wife, we have a family; there’s no way I’m moving them to the city.”
And Peter, who “sells a whole lot of brown-bagged bottles of liquor to UBS employees every evening," and said that:
“The State of Connecticut should be begging them to stay. I’m a man who believes in trickle-down economics. You take away UBS and it affects everything and everybody. What happens to all the restaurants? How about the window washers? The elevator operators? The janitors, the gardeners? It would be disastrous.”
AND WHO WILL EXPLAIN THIS TO MORTON'S BARTENDER DANNY?
“It just doesn’t make any sense,” said Danny Ryan, a bartender and server at Morton’s The Steakhouse, which is alongside the gleaming 700,000-square-foot UBS building. “Why would they build this stunning building with the biggest trading floor in the world, and then leave?”
Someone had best start coming up with answers now, because this is in fact how it starts.