UBS will cut up to 500 private banking jobs as part of a plan to split up its wealth management businesses as the lender moves forward with an overhaul aimed at strengthening regional units and speeding up decision making.
Switzerland's largest bank is merging its private-bank financing and trading operations with those at the investment bank, according to an emailed memo seen by the Financial Times.
The memo said the merger would "accelerate decision-making and time to market" while "reducing organisational duplication" and increasing accountability.
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).
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 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.
In a conference call Tuesday, Khan told journalists that the restructure would involve erasing three levels of management and up to 500 jobs, according to multiple media outlets.
The lay-offs are thought to be equivalent to around 2% of the $2.5trn wealth management team's global employees. The bank slashed thousands of investment banking jobs over the past decade in a pivot toward private banking that has become a blueprint for rivals including Credit Suisse.
It had earlier announced that it would restructure its investment bank at an estimated cost of $100m.
UBS hired Iqbal Khan last summer to co-head its global private bank after his acrimonious split from rival Credit Suisse Group AG.