UBS chief executive Sergio Ermotti has said the Switzerland-based bank is in the “second phase” of its merger with Credit Suisse, reassuring shareholders after the firm swung to a loss for the first time in six years during the third quarter.
Ermotti added that “the vast majority of integration will be over” by the end of 2026.
UBS swung to a larger-than-expected loss of $785m (£637m) last Tuesday in its first full quarterly results since acquiring troubled Credit Suisse, while its shares rose on the back of a strong underlying profit beat.
“While I’m very happy with the progress we are making so far, this is clearly more of a marathon than a sprint,” Ermotti told a company conference on Wednesday.
“But I am totally convinced that by the end of the journey, this is something that will add value not only to shareholders but also particularly importantly to clients and our employees.”
He added that the merger with Credit Suisse was “not changing anything” but rather “accelerating” UBS’ wider strategy.
The state-brokered deal came after years of scandal at Credit Suisse, resulting in mass client outflows and a share slump.
Ermotti is set to announce a strategy for the merged banks in February but is battling high costs as he winds down Credit Suisse’s unprofitable businesses while fully integrating its key Swiss banking unit.
He told shareholders that he was “pretty convinced we are already into the second phase”, with the first stage focusing on stabilising Credit Suisse in terms of client outflows, retaining talent and saving costs.
“The most important step in the next two or three years is definitely next year, which is quite pivotal because we’re going to merge the two operating companies,” Ermotti said.
Opponents argue the integration could cost thousands of jobs in Switzerland and reduce competition, with hundreds of Credit Suisse shareholders mounting legal action this summer over losses incurred from the rushed acquisition.
Ermotti said IT migration was the largest risk in executing the merger. UBS plans to integrate just 300 of Credit Suisse’s more than 3,000 IT applications into its infrastructure.
UBS has confirmed that it cut 4,000 jobs from July to September, bringing total layoffs to 13,000 this year as the bank seeks to avoid duplicating roles.