UBS's Andrea Orcel Sees `Solid' Year for Pay at Investment Bank

UBS’s Orcel Sees Fed Keeping A Close Eye on the Economy
  • Pay will depend on final quarter of 2015, no `bad surprises'
  • U.S. is main growth focus but bank isn't backing out of Asia

UBS Group AG’s investment-bank staff can expect a “solid year for compensation” despite shaky global markets after the lender performed well in the first three quarters of 2015, according to Andrea Orcel, the head of the unit.

Pay will depend “on how we close the year and on not having bad surprises,” Orcel said in an interview in Davos, Switzerland, with Bloomberg Television’s Jonathan Ferro. He also said the U.S. will be the bank’s top priority for growth because of its relatively small position there.

Andrea Orcel
Andrea Orcel
Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Orcel’s comments come as investment bank pay is under pressure at a number of lenders. Credit Suisse Group AG Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam said remuneration is the battleground in his attempts to restructure the investment bank. Deutsche Bank AG may cut bonuses by almost a third as co-CEO John Cryan tries to bring down costs.

UBS will report fourth-quarter results on Feb. 2. Deutsche Bank said Wednesday that revenue at its investment bank dropped to 6.6 billion euros ($7.2 billion) in the period, down from 7.8 billion euros a year earlier. The five biggest U.S. securities firms saw their combined revenue from investment banking and trading fall 4.9 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Financial firms have been rocked by turbulence in Chinese markets, with plunging equity markets prompting authorities to intervene amid a deepening economic slowdown. UBS will continue investing in Asia even as others pull back, Orcel said.

The lender’s interest in the U.S. “does not mean that we are not very committed and continue to be on Asia Pac, in particular China, Australia, Japan,” Orcel said.

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