- ‘Fewer than’ 200 staff are understood to be transferring from London
- UBS boss saw his annual pay packet rise to CHF 14.2m (£10.8m) last year
With the nature of Britain’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU remaining unclear, UBS has said it is pressing ahead with plans to relocate staff from London.
The financial services giant said any future shifts to how the business can function from the UK within the EU could lead to ‘significant changes’ to its operations.
‘In the absence of any adequate transition relief being agreed’, the group said it is ploughing ahead with plans to merge its UK and German businesses by Brexit deadline day, 29 March 2019.
Brexit back-up: UBS has said it is pressing ahead with plans to relocate staff from London
Under current plans, ‘fewer than’ 200 staff are expected to be relocated, with the majority understood to be moving from London to Frankfurt. Exact numbers will be determined ‘in due course’, the group said.
The Swiss bank said it could also switch its functional currency to the dollar from Swiss francs in Switzerland and sterling in London in the second half of this year.
It cited ‘cumulative changes in our legal structure, business activities and evolving changes to our structural currency management strategy’ for the proposed move.
UBS’ actions come after Prime Minister Theresa May ruled out keeping the financial passporting system within the EU in place after Brexit.
Passporting rules allow EU finance companies to sell their services across the 28-member bloc with a local license, rather than having to get permission from each country it wants to operate in one-by-one.
In its latest annual report, UBS said: ‘Any future limitations on providing financial services into the EU from our UK operations could require us to make potentially significant changes to our operations in the UK and the EU, and to our legal structure.’
It added: ‘We further anticipate that some staff would be relocated as a result.’
On Wednesday, Goldman Sach’s co-chief executive, Joerg Kukies, announced that the bank had already started to move senior staff form London to Frankfurt, adding that others could be transferred to Paris.
Looking ahead: UBS said any future shifts to how the business can function from the UK within the EU could lead to ‘significant changes’ to its operations
On the move: Goldman Sachs has already started transferring key staff from London to Frankfurt
Last year, UBS’ annual pre-tax profits increased by 29 per cent to CHF 5.3billion. Over the same period, the group made CHF 2.1billion worth of cost savings.
The company said it had made CHF 13 billion worth of corporate tax payments in Switzerland over the last 20 years.
UBS chief executive Sergio Ermotti saw his annual pay rise to over CHF 14million last year. The group said the figure was based on ‘both quantitative and qualitative performance targets.’