Top Firm Should 'Shut Down' FICC Business, Another Firm Cuts Equities Jobs

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Reuters reports that the latest reshuffling of the ranks over at UBS Investment Bank has given rise to further thoughts that the Swiss bank might be better off without at least some of it.

The news agency points to the fact that securities head Neal Shear is leaving the unit after less than a year, and that Group CEO Oswald Gruebel has admitted that he underestimated the challenges of turning around the fixed income business.

Reuters quotes Deutsche Bank analyst Matt Spick, who has said: 'The best way UBS could realise value is to restructure or sell the advisory and equities business, and shut down the FICC business, which consumes most of the capital and hasn't shown any sign of being able to compete with the top-tier FICC players'.

JPMorgan analyst Kian Abouhossein, however, is a little more encouraging, saying that he expects the unit's performance to improve 'a bit'. Abouhossein said that UBS is 'well positioned as an equities house, which will suit them better at this stage of the cycle'. He warns, however, that 'the gap with other banks in fixed income is so big I don't think they will close it'.

UBS, however, is clearly not giving up on FICC just yet, and the bank remains committed to improving its performance.

In the meantime, The Financial Times reports that Nomura is axing 30 London-based equities jobs, in what it has described as a 'tidying-up exercise'. The firm says that it is 'very much growing the equities business'.

Finally, Bloomberg reports that Macquarie Chairman David Clarke is stepping down due to ill health, 19 months after returning to the bank following treatment for cancer. We wish him well.

Clarke, 69, has been replaced by Kevin McCann, Macquarie's lead independent director.


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