Business

UBS to slash jobs in Asia

HONG KONG UBS Group is cutting nearly two dozen jobs in its Asian investment banking business, mainly in Hong Kong and Singapore, as part of a push to slash costs, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The Swiss bank joins rivals in making investment banking cost cuts in Asia as deal volume remains sluggish.

The latest round of job cuts at UBS will be mostly mid-level staff, but it will also include a few managing directors, said the people, declining to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.

Wall Street banks are grappling with a harsh environment in Asia as the region's economies and markets have failed to deliver sustained growth after the 2008 financial crisis.

The banks' business has also been eroded by local competitors, notably aggressive Chinese firms.

One of the sources said the cuts could involve as many as 20 bankers. UBS is said to have about 550 investment bankers in Asia including China.

A spokesman for UBS in Hong Kong declined to comment.

SLUMP

Equity activity in Asia ex-Japan stock exchanges slumped 30 per cent in the first nine months of this year with US$140.7 billion ($203 billion) worth of deals, weighed down by a steep decline in follow-on share offerings, Thomson Reuters data showed.

Barclays, Goldman Sachs and Standard Chartered are among Western banks that have reduced their investment banking headcount this year in Asia.

Reuters reported last month that Standard Chartered is set to cut about a tenth of its global corporate and institutional banking headcount across all major business centres starting with Singapore and Hong Kong, as it steps up an aggressive drive to cut costs. 
- REUTERS

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