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UBS seeking to keep as much as possible in UK amid Brexit

[ZURICH] UBS Group AG said it's planning to keep the maximum amount of jobs and business in the UK as the country works towards a solution with European authorities on its exit from the trading block.

The bank favors a centralized model for efficiency reasons and a European financial center that can "balance" New York, investment banking head Andrea Orcel said in an interview on Friday with Bloomberg Television. In general, the Zurich-based bank is seeking to keep "as much as we can in the UK," he said.

Global investment banks are deciding where to move some operations after Brexit, expected in 2019. UBS had been leaning toward Frankfurt for its trading headquarters, people familiar with the firm's plans said in August, though it has also been considering cities including Madrid and Amsterdam. Mr Orcel's comments are the latest to signal that the bank may move less jobs than initially expected. Deutsche Bank AG said earlier this month that its Brexit-related job moves could be in the "hundreds" rather than thousands.

"Everybody has a plan how to redeploy and relocate," Mr Orcel said. "We're all waiting for March to see if there's any definitive agreement, at least on transition. All investment banks need to take a view." JPMorgan Chase & Co Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said earlier this week that the bank could cut 4,000 jobs from its UK workforce but also prefers to keep a large presence in the UK because of the efficiency of concentrating people in one place.

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