UBS gives its bosses £34m bonus packet

SWISS bank UBS handed its senior executives SFr55m (£34m) in bonuses and awards in 2009, a large increase on 2008’s figure despite a third consecutive year of losses.

Including base salaries, total compensation for the Zurich-based institution’s 13 board members reached SFr68.7m – more than seven times the sum paid out a year earlier.

UBS has come under fire in Switzerland for continuing to pay bonuses despite having accepted billions of francs in emergency aid from the government during the financial crisis. Chief executive Oswald Grübel refused a bonus for 2009 after the company recorded a net loss of SFr2.7bn.

Although the loss represented an improvement on the SFr21.3bn haemorrhaged the year before, it triggered a “clawback” mechanism depriving senior staff of SFr300m of deferred bonuses they were due to receive.

The highest-paid member of the board was Carsten Kengeter, according to UBS’ annual report published yesterday. The co-head of investment banking and fixed income took home a base salary of SFr669,100 and total remuneration of SFr13.2m.

UBS said: “Carsten Kengeter’s drive, leadership and impact have materially contributed to the turnaround of the fixed income, currency and commodities businesses.”

Six employees who left last year were paid a further SFr38.4m. They include ex-CEO Marcel Rohner, former investment banking boss Jerker Johansson and Asia head Rory Tapner.

UBS shares closed 0.4 per cent down at SFr16.3 in Zurich.

UBS was heavily hit by the sub-prime crisis, needing SFr63bn (£39bn) of state help in 2008

Boss Oswald Grübel is counting on a recovery in UBS’ debt trading arm to help reach a goal of SFr15bn in pre-tax earnings within five years