UBS Credit Suisse Merger Set for July 2024

UBS Credit Suisse Merger Set for July 2024

Tue, Jun 11th 2024

UBS Switzerland head Sabine Keller-Busse announces the merger with Credit Suisse will begin July 1, 2024. Initial changes will primarily affect employees, with a phased migration for customers by 2025.

KEYSTONE/Michael Buholzer

UBS Switzerland head Sabine Keller-Busse has announced that the merger of UBS and Credit Suisse’s Swiss divisions could start on July 1, 2024. This initial phase will primarily impact employees, allowing them to work together internally.

“For Credit Suisse customers, only the legal counterparty will change initially. They will continue using their CS debit cards, mortgages, and investment products as long as the current IT systems are operational,” Keller-Busse explained in an interview with the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” published on Tuesday.

For complex clients, such as large family offices or major corporations, the migration will start this year. Other customers will transition to UBS systems by New Year’s Eve 2025. “Then it will be back to normal for our business,” Keller-Busse stated.

The merger will also significantly reduce the number of branches. UBS plans to consolidate to 194 branches in Switzerland, down from a combined 285. A pilot test merging branches in five locations has been successful, focusing on sites with larger areas to accommodate more advisors.

The integration involves a one-off expense, but it allows for quicker consolidation of surplus branches, avoiding delays until the end of 2025. Most surplus locations are rented, and there is strong interest from new tenants.

Keller-Busse noted that lending approaches at CS and UBS are similar, with differences mainly in special transactions. UBS does not offer pure financing abroad for foreign companies, focusing instead on Swiss firms. CS assessed “one or two countries” differently, not aligning with UBS’s risk appetite.

Special conditions offered by CS to deter a “bank run” in 2022 will need adjustments for profitability. “We have to reprice unprofitable relationships,” said Keller-Busse, emphasizing that the CS side should become profitable again. Interest rate changes have also influenced this need.

Job cuts of around 1,000 in Switzerland will begin in the second half of 2024, continuing over the next two to three years. Redundancies will be more significant in the back office post-migration to the UBS platform. The labor market is expected to absorb the reductions well, given the shortage of skilled workers.

When asked about succeeding UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti, Keller-Busse deflected, stating she is focused on her current role and dismisses speculation.


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