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UBS cutting 40 banking jobs in Asia

Asian divisions will see smaller cuts than those planned in Europe

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UBS has embarked on a sweeping overhaul of its investment bank, reshuffling senior management and combining trading operations in changes that may ultimately eliminate hundreds of positions, sources reported.

Hong Kong

UBS Group is cutting about 40 jobs in the Asia-Pacific region as part of a global push to trim costs and combine its trading units, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The staff reductions are roughly split between UBS's markets and investment-banking teams, with a majority at the level of vice-president or below, the person said, asking not to be identified because the details aren't public.

The Asian divisions - led by Hong Kong-based Taichi Takahashi and David Chin - will see smaller cuts than those planned in Europe because UBS sees the region as a driver for growth, the person said.

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UBS has embarked on a sweeping overhaul of its investment bank, reshuffling senior management and combining trading operations in changes that may ultimately eliminate hundreds of positions, people with knowledge of the plan have said.

Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and HSBC Holdings are also cutting staff to rein in costs as the industry deals with difficult trading conditions, sputtering economies and the impact of trade tensions on cross-border deals.

Mark Panday, a Hong Kong-based spokesman at UBS, declined to comment.

UBS is set to announce its third-quarter results tomorrow. While the company's investment-banking fees fell in both Europe and the U.S. in 2018, they grew 28 per cent in Asia, according to Freeman & Co.

The fees totalled US$388 million this year through the third quarter in Asia, ranking the region ahead of Europe and behind the US, the consulting firm said.

As part of its global restructuring, Ros L'Esperance and Javier Oficialdegui are being put in charge of the newly named global banking division, which will include public capital markets, private financing and mergers and acquisitions.

A combined global markets operation, including equities and foreign exchange, rates and credit, will be run by Jason Barron and George Athanasopoulos.

Greg Peirce is taking over as global head of mergers and acquisitions, the first time that role will be based in Hong Kong, the person said.

The Asian staff reductions have already begun, with a fresh round expected later this month, they said.

The restructuring comes as UBS seeks to boost collaboration between dealmakers and its wealth-management unit, while sharpening a focus on industries most of interest to its richest clients.

The investment bank's 10 per cent return on equity in the first half of the year was roughly half that of UBS's other divisions. BLOOMBERG