The alleged $2.3 billion fraud at UBS is a bad blow for employees already battered by the bank's misfortunes during the financial crisis and tough working conditions, the secretary general of the Swiss Bank Employees Association said.
Switzerland's biggest bank, saved by a state bailout in 2008, was in the process of winning back clients' confidence when the alleged unauthorized trades were made public last week, dealing another severe blow to its reputation.
"At UBS, employees really worked hard, they closed ranks to face the situation. Their working conditions have deteriorated considerably," said Denise Chervet.
"Management told them: come on, we have to get going, we shall not rest. That was the situation at the bank. Today, employees are discouraged," she said, adding that many UBS employees were thinking about leaving the bank.
UBS said in August it was slashing around 3,500 jobs, almost half of them from its investment bank, as it seeks to shave some 2 billion Swiss francs from annual costs by the end of 2013.
"The trading disaster has driven a deeper wedge between wealth management and investment banking, adding credence to the idea that investment bankers are the millstone around our neck," said a UBS manager who did not want to be named.
Chervet said many Swiss employees didn't understand why the bank's investment bankers were better paid even though the wealth management unit made more in pretax profit in both 2009 and 2010.
"Swiss employees then had to find out about the huge bonuses and salaries paid at the investment bank. Many people did not understand. After the most recent incident, people are even more furious," she said.
ReutersLast Mod: 23 Eylül 2011, 14:43