The two Swiss banks that grew into UBS Warburg have weathered some icy economies — partly by not being afraid to take difficult decisions. In the current chill, its rivals have cut thousands of jobs, disqualifying former high-scorers from the Best Companies list. Although in the past year UBS Warburg, which has global headquarters in Zurich, two offices in
London and one in Edinburgh, has made about 700 redundancies worldwide (238 of these in the UK), the bank’s philosophy is to make “tough decisions quickly and communicated appropriately”.
The firm, which will be renamed UBS Investment Bank this year, told us: “The bank has made redundancies but on a small scale and out of the public eye, as a last resort. It has always felt a duty to back employees who are doing their best to excel.”
UBS Warburg has trimmed the pay of top managers but the bank had global revenues of £6.5 billion (and £900m profits) in 2001 and its most recent figures, for the third quarter of 2002, showed a slight rise in profits.
Despite an environment where employees such as Brian Lewis, in foreign exchange, admit to working 12 to 14 hours a day, stress is manageable: seven in 10 employees say they are not under too much pressure to perform well or concentrate, a result that places the bank in 76th place for this question, slightly higher than its overall ranking. Lewis says an element of light-heartedness (which 76% commented on) is one reason. “I chose UBS Warburg because of the education on offer, the quality of the people and the fact that everybody got on so well,” he says.
People take their work seriously: more than three-quarters say it is an important part of their life and feel proud to work for the firm.
Although there is no profit-related pay, there is a generous non-contributory pension, where the firm puts in from 7% to 27% of salary, and 18 weeks of fully paid maternity leave, which is also available for adoptive mothers.
Benefits at work include an on-site private medical centre, massage, store discounts and a 25% subsidised canteen.
Number of Staff:
Male to Female ratio:
Under 35 to Over 55 Ratio: