LONDON Nov 7 UBS AG has brought back
several employees who were put on leave when it unveiled a
drastic pullback from fixed income last week, and more could
follow, sources familiar with the situation said.
The Swiss bank stopped dozens of traders from reaching their
desks in London last Tuesday, when it unveiled an exit from most
of its rates and bond trading businesses in a strategic overhaul
that will lead to 10,000 global layoffs.
The bankers were placed on special leave until further
notice, while in the United States UBS fired several
fixed-income employees by phone.
UBS has already brought back a small handful of employees
who were on leave, two people familiar with the matter said.
It could also ask more to return or rehire some where
needed, said three other sources, including UBS insiders, adding
that some desks were now too thinly staffed to operate properly,
if they were desks the bank ultimately wanted to keep going.
UBS declined to comment.
Rehiring staff after big layoffs is not unheard of,
headhunters said, and UBS had given itself the option of
bringing back staff through its special leave arrangement in the
It took that step to ease the way for a formal consultation
required under British law, to go over which positions will
ultimately be cut.
But its methods have sparked confusion and some anger among
some UBS staff still at the bank, even if many are supportive of
the Swiss bank's overall strategy.
"It's a good idea," one insider said of UBS's retreat from
fixed income to refocus on equities trading and corporate
finance advisory, seen as its bigger strengths.
"But the way of doing it has not been good. Turning people
away ... looked bad, and now it looks like there were some
mistakes in terms of the people who left."
Three sources said there was an emerging market sales and
trading desk which only had one senior employee still in place,
and that this was one area where staff could be brought back.
UBS's new investment bank boss Andrea Orcel told staff in
meetings in the last week that the job-cut process was complex,
and that some elements could have been done differently or could
need adjusting, two of the sources said.
But he denied, when asked, that the plan had been in any way
rushed, adding it had been many months in the planning, a third
"We recognize refinements in execution are almost always
inevitable, particularly when you embark on a rapid
transformation such as this. However, our course of direction is
clear," Orcel said in a memo to staff this week, referring more
broadly to the bank's strategy rather than specific staffing
changes on the trading desks.
UBS's exit from fixed income, where it had lagged rivals and
used up a lot of capital, won support from some analysts now
urging peers to consider similar radical moves.