Switzerland’s UBS Group AG is reportedly implementing substantial workforce reductions in the Asia-Pacific region following its acquisition of competitor Credit Suisse. These job cuts are driven by several factors, including weak customer demand and concerns about China’s struggling economy. The bank has already initiated some layoffs, with further reductions expected to continue through November.
One of the key areas impacted by these layoffs is the role of relationship managers, particularly in Singapore and Hong Kong. Many of these positions belong to teams recently acquired from Credit Suisse. While the exact number of job cuts remains uncertain, UBS has clearly stated its intention to reduce its workforce in these locations. However, for the time being, the bank plans to retain most of its private bankers in Australia and India.
The Asia-Pacific region, with Singapore and Hong Kong as traditional booking hubs for China’s affluent individuals, has witnessed reduced consumer demand and activity levels. This decline in activity resulted in a nine per cent drop in profit before tax for UBS’s wealth-management division in the second quarter, compared to the previous year.
UBS’s acquisition of Credit Suisse in June came with ambitious integration goals, including the elimination of 3,000 domestic jobs and cost savings exceeding $10 billion.
The headcount reduction in Asia align with similar moves by other major banks such as Barclays and Goldman Sachs. For instance, Barclays plans to cut five per cent of client-facing employees in its trading sector, globally. Despite earlier expectations of minimal cuts in Asia, UBS is now implementing significant reductions, including the departure of senior bankers hired from Credit Suisse.