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Tuesday, 15 April 2008

UBS staff spooked in Singapore, but staying put

Simon Mortlock

Staff at UBS in Singapore are sprucing up their CVs as job-cut rumours start to spread. One recruiter, who asked not to be named, says a few UBS bankers have already been in touch to discuss their careers.

“I’ve definitely seen more résumés coming across my desk this month. There are certainly interesting things going on at UBS. People there seem to be spooked,” he adds.

The job-loss jitters follow UBS’s announcement earlier this month of US$19bn of new asset writedowns, and the departure of chairman Marcel Ospel.

But at this stage employees are only talking to recruiters, not walking out to join rival banks. “I haven’t seen any actual hirings of UBS people yet. It’s all rumour and speculation at the moment. They want to keep their options open,” says the recruiter.

Another Singapore-based search consultant, who also preferred to remain anonymous, agrees UBS workers are nervous: “From people I know there, there’s a lot of talk about what’s going on, but that’s to be expected when you’ve just lost your CEO and you’ve just lost a lot of money. They naturally feel uncomfortable.”

Although UBS is one of the top-ranked banks in Asia, other firms do not seem to be targeting its talent. Both headhunters say competitors have not approached them about pre-emptive poaching of UBS staff.

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