UBS Cuts 20 Jobs at Canadian Bank Unit

UBS AG, Switzerland’s largest bank, cut 20 jobs at its Canadian investment-banking unit as part of cost cuts by the Zurich-based bank.

UBS fired Rick Meslin, head of Canadian equities, and Chief Economist and Strategist George Vasic as part of the cuts, said Karina Byrne, a spokeswoman. The firm cut 10 jobs in equity research and the rest in cash sales and trading. The banking unit had about 48 staff before the cuts, mostly in Toronto, she said.

“Canada is an important investor market for us and these changes are aligned with our larger investment bank strategy which is to be more focused, less capital intensive, and more efficient,” Byrne said in a phone interview from New York.

UBS said in October it will eliminate 10,000 jobs over three years and dismantle portions of the investment bank to increase profitability. Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti is overhauling the bank as Swiss regulators pressure UBS to boost capital and scale back trading and investment-banking operations.

Meslin was replaced by Lisa Petrelli, who is currently co-head of Canadian equity trading, while Vasic’s role was filled by Brian MacArthur, who becomes director of research for Canada, Byrne said. Meslin and Vasic didn’t return calls seeking comment.

UBS has about 230 people in Canada after these cuts, across investment banking, wealth management and global asset management divisions, Byrne said.

UBS joins other Canadian financial firms paring their ranks. GMP Capital Inc., the country’s second-biggest non-bank brokerage, cut 15 jobs on Jan. 8 as part of its plan to save more than C$5 million ($5 million) in annual costs. The firm has cut 52 jobs during the past year.

In November, Montreal-based National Bank of Canada, the country’s sixth-biggest bank, said it planned to cut about 300 jobs, or almost 2 percent of its workforce.

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