UBS Plans Istanbul Hires as Turkey Growth Trumps Global Cuts

Updated on

UBS AG, the Swiss bank cutting about 10,000 jobs, is planning to expand in Turkey as the nation’s economic growth boosts demand for assets.

“We’re working on hiring more for our investment banking team in Turkey,” Gonca Gursoy Artunkal, the bank’s chief executive officer in Turkey, said yesterday in an interview in Istanbul, without giving more details on the expansion. “We’re also waiting for detailed capital markets regulations to be published to see whether to start asset management operations.”

UBS’s expansion plans for Turkey follow the Swiss bank’s announcement in October that it will cut about 16 percent of its workforce in the next three years and slim down investment banking. Tougher regulation and slower markets have left investment banks worldwide jostling for market share, with companies looking to shrink unprofitable areas.

Turkey has attracted investors such as Russia’s OAO Sberbank and Diageo Plc in the past two years, seeking to enter an almost $800 billion economy set to grow about 4 percent this year. Ernst & Young LLP said in January it expects mergers and acquisitions in Turkey to rise to $25 billion in 2013 from $23.2 billion last year.

Investment Banking

UBS, which employs 30 people in Turkey, offers investment banking services such as debt capital markets, equities trading and research, as well as having a corporate advisory team focusing on M&A work for smaller transactions.

“Things have been quite busy and we’re enjoying a good momentum,” Artunkal said. “We’re trying to evaluate the potential in the space and looking to see what additional value we can bring clients here in Turkey.”

UBS last month reported its second straight quarterly loss after booking a fine for trying to rig global interest rates and costs tied to job cuts. CEO Sergio Ermotti is exiting most debt-trading businesses to concentrate on money management and boost returns for shareholders. The company announced plans to raise its dividend by 50 percent to 15 centimes ($0.16) a share for 2012 and repurchase as much as 5 billion francs of debt to lower funding costs.

Turkey’s market regulator is considering draft regulation on the structure of asset management companies, including introducing 10 million liras ($5.49 million) minimum of capital.