UBS Shakes Up ABS Operations; Will Pull out of Fixed-Income Proprietary Trading in U.S.
The Financial Times reported Friday morning that UBS is the latest financial institution to shake up its fixed-income trading operations, after the bank has suffered from heavy losses tied to the implosion of the subprime mortgage market. According to the story, an internal memo from CEO Marcel Rohner said that UBS will cut staff in its real estate and securitization businesses by 50 percent. The bank will also move its troubled mortgage investments into a separate restructuring unit, although it's unclear if this move will encompass pushing these assets off of UBS' balance sheet. The bank will also pull out of proprietary ABS trading in the U.S., and combine its equity and debt underwriting as part of a restructuring move, the Financial Times said. (Proprietary trading refers to trading activity that takes place within a firm's own investments, as opposed to the investments it manages for customers.) Washington Mutual recently shuttered its ABS trading operations, although WaMu's trade desk possessed a signficantly smaller footprint than that of UBS. Sources have suggested that the move by UBS may be echoed by a few other investment banking operations, although not all. "Goldman and Credit Suisse are probably going to be the big winners here," one source said to HW, on condition of anonymity.