Headhunters circling talent at Swiss bank

BANKS are eyeing the possibility of poaching UBS’s most talented staff, taking advantage of the uncertainty plaguing its investment bank.

Recruiters have told City A.M. that there is strong interest in snapping up rising stars from the bank, where this year’s bonus pool for its UK equity capital markets (ECM) team is likely to take a hit from its $2.3bn loss due to a “rogue” trader.

One front-office recruiter said: “It’s inevitable really. If the bank’s in trouble, those who might have wanted to stay for career opportunities or because they thought it was doing well might be having second thoughts.” But the recruiter added that given that “there’s not a lot of hiring going on”, the headhunting is focused on top talent rather than mass recruitment.

The bank is conducting a strategic review of its investment bank that is expected to downsize the division drastically. The overhaul could see many of its 6,800 London employees’ jobs cut.

UBS was already planning to reduce its headcount by 3,500, but the savings it hoped to make by doing so have now been wiped out, meaning it could cut more.