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UBS announced bonuses and there was some sadness

Yesterday was bonus day at UBS. Sources at the bank tell us they'd been warned against unbridled optimism, but there seems to be disappointment all the same.

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"My bonus was lower than I'd expected," says one senior quant. "Depending upon where you are in the bank, the pool is down at least 30%," he claims.

UBS isn't commenting on the size of its bonus pool and it doesn't report its fourth results until next Tuesday, so the veracity of this claim is not clear. However, other insiders at the bank say that they too have experienced a falling-short. "We were earned there were not going to be good," says one London investment bank MD. "The overall bonus pool was down," says one controls professional in New York, describing bonuses as "bad."

Given that UBS is digesting Credit Suisse and that it posted a $785m loss in the third quarter as it integrates its rival, a year of mediocre bonuses is not surprising, but insiders say it's been made worse by the absence of pay rises. "Base salary increases are very rare," says the quant. The NY controls professional says they were non-existent, unless you were promoted. 

In some teams, the grumbling appears to have been intensified by the recipients of promotions. "In my group, no UBS personnel were promoted to managing director, only former Credit Suisse people," says one UBS insider, claiming that promotions seemed to depend upon the legacy bank of the person running the group and that the ex-Credit Suisse people were promoting their own.

UBS declined to comment. UBS is expected to close roughly two thirds of Credit Suisse's investment bank, but some Credit Suisse people are in senior positions. David Wildermuth, for example, transitioned from chief risk officer at Credit Suisse to chief risk officer for the Americas at UBS.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Ba
    Ballz
    2 February 2024

    Well, their stock is up 50% in 6 months, so their personal balance sheet is looking a lot better.

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