The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

UBS CEO: Number of branches will be significantly reduced by 2026

UBS will be closing a considerable number of branches in the coming years. UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti said on Tuesday that the takeover of Credit Suisse had led to a duplication of branches that needed to be eliminated.

According to him, many branches are therefore likely to disappear. The future total number of branches is likely to be closer to the number of UBS branches before the integration, Ermotti said in a conference call with journalists on the occasion of the results for the 2023 financial year. More details will emerge at the end of 2024 or 2025. There are currently still around 190 UBS branches and around 95 CS branches in Switzerland.

UBS intends to complete the merger of the local units in the third quarter. CS Switzerland will then be gradually transferred to the UBS systems in 2025.

The two biggest risks in such an integration are the legal mergers with regard to regulatory hurdles and the IT migration, Ermotti continued. With regard to IT, however, it is important to mention that CS Switzerland will be transferred to the UBS systems. This is easier and will be well managed. The shutdown of systems will then begin in 2026.

Job cuts in all regions

Meanwhile, the global job cuts are broad-based: There is no focus on specific regions, said Chief Financial Officer Todd Tuckner in response to a corresponding question. It is clear that the Investment Bank and the Settlement Unit account for a large proportion. The latter is where the businesses that UBS wants to divest are parked.

However, further reductions in the current year will mainly take place in the second half of the year. Until the legal merger of UBS and CS at a global level takes place in the second quarter, the company will have to rely on key employees.

It was announced in the morning that a further 4,300 jobs would be cut in the fourth quarter of 2023. The number of full-time positions at the combined bank of UBS and CS thus stood at around 113,000 at the end of December, plus around 25,000 external employees.

Meanwhile, the management did not want to answer questions about salary and bonus developments. Ermotti said that a complete picture would only be available with the remuneration report, which will be published on March 28.

©Keystone/SDA

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