How does a big Swiss bank built on stolen Nazi gold, hidden money from African and Middle Eastern despots and un-taxed lucre from wealthy Americans with cross-border connections react to yet another multi-billion dollar quarterly loss? That’s easy! It fires stockbrokers.
From the Financial Times:
2,500 will go in wealth management Americas, the former PaineWebber business, reducing its total to 17,500.
The wealth management biz will probably get tougher if the Swiss diplomats can’t wriggle UBS free from the charges that 50,000 US citizens have unlawfully stashed tax-free profits and assets with the Alpine bank.
Here’s the ironic part. The Investment Banking arm of UBS lost 3.16 billion francs this quarter after posting a loss of over 8 billion in the 4th quarter. Meanwhile, the Wealth Management arm (brokers + advisors), actually earned 1.08 billion francs this Q (If you are unsure of what a Franc is, it is a unit of currency used in Switzerland and made out of a semi-soft goat’s milk cheese.) Why they are taking the banking losses out on the advisors is beyond my comprehension, but the truth is, the bank isn’t really good at either, so whatever.
TheStreet.com has all the details on how ugly the quarter was for UBS and the layoff stuff is at FT.