UBS warns of significant changes and staff moves without Brexit transition deal


UBS will press ahead with plans to relocate London staff to EU offices including Frankfurt, with the investment bank saying the lack of a Brexit transition deal will result in "significant changes" to its operations.

The Swiss banking giant said in its annual report that it is expecting to merge its UK entity with its German-headquartered European bank ahead of the Brexit deadline of March 29 2019, which will mean moving staff closer to clients in their respective European cities and locating central risk management and support services in Frankfurt.

UBS said its plans would be put in motion "in the absence of adequate transition relief being agreed and passed into law by the United Kingdom and the European Union".

"The nature of the UK's future relationship with the EU remains unclear," UBS said.

"Any future limitations on providing financial services into the EU from our UK operations could require us to make potentially significant changes to our operations in the UK and the EU, and to our legal structure."

It added: "We further anticipate that some staff would be relocated as a result."

While UBS said the exact number of staff and their specific roles would be "determined in due course" it is understood that less than 200 could be moved under current plans, with discussions over relocation set to take place in the coming months.

The changes will mean shifting its European Economic Area (EEA) investment bank business from London to other EU offices, though its UK wealth management, asset management and non-EEA investment bank business will remain in Britain.

The Swiss bank employs more than 5,000 people in London.

"The timing and extent of the actions we take may vary considerably depending on regulatory requirements and the nature of any transition or successor agreements with the EU," UBS said.