UBS Plans to Add Up to 350 in Compliance After Billions in Fines

UBS Group AG, which has paid more than $3 billion in fines since the start of the financial crisis, plans to hire as many as 350 more workers to monitor regulatory compliance.

That would increase the number of employees in its compliance and operational risk control unit to about 1,500. Most of the workers will be based in Nashville, Tennessee, and Krakow, Poland, where the Swiss bank has been building up its presence in recent years.

The Swiss bank announced the plan, to be carried out over two to three years, in a memo to employees dated April 2. A Zurich-based spokeswoman for UBS confirmed the contents on Friday.

“We are reinforcing the firm’s second line of defense in response to the increasing internal and external expectations upon us to become even more effective at identifying and controlling risks,” the memo said.

Financial firms have expanded their compliance departments following probes by global regulators into the manipulation of benchmark interest rates, the alleged rigging in currency markets and money laundering.

Last year, UBS was one of six banks that collectively paid $4.3 billion for attempting to rig foreign exchange markets. In total, UBS has paid fines of more than $3 billion since the financial crisis erupted for aiding tax evasion and attempting to rig Libor and foreign exchange markets.

Relocating Operations

Switzerland’s other global bank also has been hit by fines. Credit Suisse Group AG last year paid $2.6 billion for helping Americans evade taxes.

UBS is trying to control costs by relocating some business operations outside of its major financial hubs. UBS Krakow has almost 1,400 employees, while the business solutions center in Nashville is nearing 1,000 people, the memo said.

The head of compliance and operational risk control, Colin Bell, reports to UBS Chief Risk Officer Philip Lofts. Neue Zuercher Zeitung reported the job additions earlier Friday.