Banks

UBS to cut up to 500 jobs in European private banking overhaul

Key Points
  • An internal memo sent to employees on Tuesday by UBS wealth management bosses Iqbal Khan and Tom Naratil set out plans to divide private banking operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) into three parts.
  • Current EMEA head Christine Novakovic will continue to lead the European business, while Caroline Kuhnert will head up CEE and Ali Janoudi will take control of the MEA region.

UBS will cut up to 500 private banking jobs as part of a plan to split up its wealth management businesses in a bid to speed up decision-making and strengthen regional units.

An internal memo sent to employees on Tuesday by wealth management bosses Iqbal Khan and Tom Naratil set out plans to divide the Swiss lender's private banking operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) into three parts: Europe (EU), Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Middle East and Africa (MEA).

In a conference call Tuesday morning, Khan told journalists that the restructure would involve erasing three levels of management and up to 500 jobs, according to multiple media outlets.

The memo sets out plans to improve speed to market and time spent with clients, through "streamlining" of processes.

"To deliver on these opportunities we are pleased to announce that we will accelerate decision-making and time to market by delayering, reducing organizational duplication, and increasing business unit (BU) autonomy, which comes with more accountability," Khan and Naratil said in the memo.

"To realize our ambition of increasing time spent with clients, we will roll out new technology and strengthen incentives and accountability to improve efficiency across GWM (global wealth management)."

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Current EMEA head Christine Novakovic will continue to lead the European business, while Caroline Kuhnert will head up CEE and Ali Janoudi will take control of the MEA region.

The changes are part of an overarching redesign of the wealth management business instigated by Khan, who joined from Swiss rival Credit Suisse in October 2019.

UBS will expand its Global Family Office (GFO) Group, to enhance its regional offerings to ultra-high net worth (UHNW) and high net worth (HNW) clients.

The memo also announced plans to integrate UBS' chief investment office (CIO), mandates, investment content and wealth planning operations, with Mark Haefele appointed to lead the integrated unit and Bruno Marxer heading the Global Mandates, Investment Content and Wealth Planning divisions.

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