UBS identified the only staff who actually need to be in the office

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eFinancialCareers 28 June, 2021 - 02:45am 38 views

by Sarah Butcher 3 hours ago

If you work for James Gorman, or Jamie Dimon, or David Solomon, all CEOs of illustrious U.S. investment banks, you're probably either back in the office already or making preparations for your imminent return for fear of stunting your career if you stay away. Dimon, in particular, has predicted that pandemic working styles will be replaced by a return to normal in September and woe betide anyone who fights against it.

However, if you work for Ralph Hamers at UBS, now might be a good time to upgrade your home office as you dig in for a protracted period of hanging out at home.

The Financial Times reports today that UBS has identified that only a third of its 72,000 staff need to be in the office all the time. The rest can work in a hybrid fashion - part in the actual office, part in the home office - forever.

The people who need to be in the actual office fall into a particular category, although the FT isn't entirely definitive about who's in it. Traders are going to be there, even though trading from home seemed to work out fine. Branch staff need to be in branches. Supervisory staff need to supervise in person, even though they too can surely supervise remotely. The rest are in the hybrid category.

Based on this vague definition, then, it would seem that all UBS's investment bankers might expect to work hybrid forever, as might people like its IT staff. The FT notes that even the hybrid employees will need to, "attend the office for certain activities, as agreed with their manager," but if you like working from home this seems more lenient than the noises come from U.S. banks about the importance of convening in one place. 

While UBS errs on the side of homeworking, JPMorgan is fighting a new front in the battle to get staff vaccinated. It's reportedly begun asking all its Hong Kong staff in client facing positions to get a vaccine, and wants proof that they've had at least one vaccination by June 30 (two days' time). It's the first sign that it's going to be hard to be an anti-vax type while working in sales or an origination role...

Separately, a new academic study has indicated the best time for men to take paternity leave, and it has implications for the in-office debate too. Following a study eight years ago which showed that men who take paternity leave earn 2% less five years later than men who don't, the new study looked at why this pay gap existed. It found that the men who remained in the office during colleagues' paternity leaves were able to derive small advantages that helped them gain promotions. However, when all the men took paternity leave at the same time this comparative advantage was eroded away. The conclusion would seem to be that if you're working from home, you need to do so on the days that any colleagues vying for promotions are staying at home too.

Credit Suisse CEO Thomas Gottstein says he feels supported by his new chairman: "I’ve decided to be part of the solution. The last few months have probably been the most difficult in my 30-year career." (FiNews) 

JPMorgan's new Paris office is opening tomorrow. (Reuters)

Nomura paid its CEO Kentaro Okuda $2.9m during his first year as chief executive officer. (Bloomberg) 

"I told my entire professional network that I’m gay and married to my husband Dave, and that as a gay man working in a senior position within financial services, I’ve faced discrimination. Someone whom I once regularly advised at a bank about 11 years ago found out about my sexuality. Because of this, he said he was no longer able to instruct me as his lawyer." (Financial Times) 

Nightmare in big law: "I'm scared of even taking 15 minutes to shower or eat, in case I miss a call or email," she said.  "The pay raises didn't make me feel any more appreciated."..."I've had to bill twice as much as I normally would. It's grating because it's been 2.5 months of this." (Business Insider)

Zillow is offering employees the chance to work remotely and has seen a huge spike in applications. (Vox) 

It took years for wheeled suitcases to catch on, both because it wasn't considered manly to have one and because it was presumed that women weren't mobile or would have a man to carry their bags. (Guardian) 

A very strange story about a Geneva trader who was lured to a location with the promise of meeting a Goldman Sachs banker, kidnapped, made to buy a lot of stock in a company owned by his alleged kidnapper, and then released although he was scheduled to be killed. (Bloomberg) 

tfw when protected weekend at GS kicks off pic.twitter.com/uGs9aZadZ2

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UBS Will Allow Hybrid Work for Two-Thirds of Employees

Bloomberg Markets and Finance 28 June, 2021 - 06:19am

UBS Rolls Out Permanent Hybrid Working Option

finews.asia 28 June, 2021 - 06:19am

An internal analysis of the 72,000-strong global workforce identified that around two-thirds had roles that were fit for hybrid working, according to a «Financial Times» report citing unnamed sources, equivalent to more than 48,000 employees. 

The arrangements will be based on an individual’s role, tasks and location with some, such as traders and branch staff, offered little flexibility with requirements to work on site. For certain activities, even hybrid workers will be required to come into the office to attend.

No date has been set for a return to the office, according to the plan which is being led by chief executive Ralph Hamers.

UBS’ commitment to more hybrid working contrasts with that of major U.S. rivals which are not only increasingly asking workers to return but also demonstrating relatively critical views about the state of affairs.

«If you can go to a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office and we want you in the office,» Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman said at a recent conference. 

Last year, UBS even explored the potential to have traders operate outside of the office, experimenting with virtual reality headsets for its London-based staff.

UBS CEO Talks Archegos, Dutch Probe, Job Cuts

finews.com 28 June, 2021 - 06:19am

Only in Switzerland: Eight months into the top job at UBS, Ralph Hamers granted his first sit-down interview with a press outlet to «Blick» (in German). Save for regular quarterly appearances on financial broadcasters, the 55-year-old has eschewed interviews, in part because of a surprise issue which has complicated his start at the Zurich-based bank.

The Swiss tabloid, with whom the Swiss bank has long maintained close ties, doesn't spare him deeply personal questions, eliciting Hamers' religious views and the fact that the CEO, who settled in a tax-friendly canton next to Zurich, has enjoyed discovering the area's hillsides on his racing bike and with his wife swam in Lake Zug well into November of last year.

The interview is thinner on issues front and center to investors: Hamers said a revived criminal investigation into him while he ran ING «doesn't affect my work at UBS at all» and voiced confidence he would sit it out. «Of course the matter is always at the back of my mind, but I am fully focused on UBS.»

He indicated that UBS hadn't yet decided it it will personnel measures following its first-quarter losses with Archegos, a family office-hedge fund which wreaked havoc at crosstown rival Credit Suisse.

«Archegos is not a systemic issue, but a unique, nearly incomparable event, coupled with lack of transparency. We will no longer accept this,» Hamers said, adding that UBS had «learned its lessons» from the fallout.

The «Blick» didn't ask Hamers about speculation of a partial or entire UBS-Credit Suisse tie-up. Hamers tells the outlet that UBS doesn't plan widespread job cuts, but may not be able to avoid some layoffs.

The Swiss bank is poised to tell staff it will let as many UBS plans to allow up to two-thirds of its 71,779 staff a hybrid workstyle from either home or its offices, for the foreseeable future, according to the «Financial Times» (behind paywall). The bank will continue to require «hands-on» staff in dealing rooms or branches to be on-site, the British outlet reported.

«Some of our colleagues will retrain and remain with us, but we also have some colleagues who don't want to take this transformation step with us,» he said. The CEO underwhelmed bank watchers two months ago with a relatively vague technology-driven strategy, as finews.com commented.

Swiss bank UBS to allow most staff to adopt hybrid working

The Irish Times 28 June, 2021 - 04:40am

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“We are committed to offering our employees the flexibility for hybrid working where role, tasks and location allow,” UBS said. “Hybrid work options will be introduced on a country-by-country basis, with timing dependent on the local pandemic situation.”

The Financial Times said the policy could allow up to two thirds of UBS staff adopt the hyrbid working model.

By contrast, the chief executive of US bank Morgan Stanley, has said he expects most of the company’s workers at its Manhattan headquarters to return to the office by September.

JPMorgan Chase & Co and Goldman Sachs, meanwhile, have begun bringing employees back to their US offices and American Express will allow most employees to work from home for up to two days a week. – Reuters

UBS boss says Switzerland is falling behind on structural change

swissinfo.ch 28 June, 2021 - 03:21am

For example, the dynamics in Asia and Scandinavia are significantly greater, Hamers told newspaper BlickExternal link in an interview on Monday. Also in the Netherlands, Hamers’ home country, the public now does everything digitally, from shopping to banking, he said.

“This also has to do with the culture,” he said. “UBS has almost three million clients in Switzerland. We don’t want to force them to do anything they don’t want to do. The step towards digitalisation only works together.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has dispelled many reservations about digitalisation and accelerated it, he added.

Regarding structural change, Hamers said it was not always possible to avoid redundancies, “but at the same time [there are] new jobs and retraining”. The bottom line, for him, is that the number of employees remain roughly the same.

“We need employees who want to be part of the technological change. And we need specialists who are familiar with artificial intelligence and data.”

Hamers, who has been in office since November 2020 and replaced Sergio Ermotti, believes banks are in a much more stable position today following the Archegos debacle, in which UBS took an $861 million (CHF790 million) hit. Archegos, a family office which imploded in March, borrowed tens of billions of dollars from at least nine global banks to speculate on volatile stocks.

Banks today have significantly more capital cushion and liquidity, Hamers said.

“People trust bankers again,” he claimed.

UBS said in January that board members were backing Ralph Hamers as he faces a lengthy Dutch legal battle over his role in a money-laundering scandal at his previous employer that has complicated efforts to put his stamp on the business.

Hamers, hit with a probe by the Dutch public prosecutor barely a month after taking over in November, faces an investigation that was expected to drag on for at least a year from the formal start of the process in February, according to Bloomberg who spoke to people familiar with the matter who requested anonymity.

Switzerland’s largest bank is contending with the risk that Hamers could be indicted for breaching anti-money-laundering and compliance rules while at the helm of ING Groep NV. That represents a second major legal issue, as the bank seeks to appeal a record fine for helping French clients dodge taxes.

Chairman Axel Weber has said he is confident that Hamers will make a good CEO, while declining to predict whether he can stay on. Before Christmas, UBS’s directors had gone as far as discussing possible contenders to replace Hamers in a worst-case scenario.

Switzerland is an attractive place to work and the country needs specialists. But work permits can be hard to come by.

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UBS CEO sees Archegos hit as one-off, plays down job cuts - Blick

Reuters 28 June, 2021 - 12:10am

ZURICH, June 28 (Reuters) - UBS Group (UBSG.S) Chief Executive Ralph Hamers sees the hit from collapsed investment fund Archegos as a "unique event", he told Swiss newspaper Blick.

"Archegos is not a systemic failure, but rather a unique event that can hardly find comparisons. In this case, there was a lack of transparency. We will no longer accept that. In any case, we have learned our lessons from it," he said in the interview.

UBS, the world's largest wealth manager, unveiled a $774 million revenue hit in the first quarter from the default of Archegos, which detracted from results that included record high client activity levels. read more

Hamers also played down reports that Switzerland's biggest bank was cutting hundreds of jobs.

"In order to reduce costs, we need to cut jobs in certain areas. In others, however, we are creating new jobs. The bottom line is that the number of our employees will remain more or less the same," he was quoted as saying.

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United Airlines (UAL.O) was putting the finishing touches on Monday to an airplane order potentially worth $30 billion at list values for up to 270 narrowbody jets in a bid to secure a pandemic recovery at favourable prices, industry sources said.

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