UBS Group AG Chairman Axel Weber said Switzerland’s biggest bank isn’t looking to pare costs during the pandemic and won’t undertake major job cuts.
“We do not want to cope with this uncertain time with a subdued economic outlook on the back of our employees,” Axel Weber said in an interview with Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag.
The vow indicates the Swiss lender and new Chief Executive Officer Ralph Hamers won’t succumb to pressure from investors to restructure business lines and reduce costs amid Covid-19. Weber didn’t rule out such moves once the global health crisis subsides.
“We decided at the beginning of the pandemic not to undertake any new restructuring programs,” Weber said. “But of course we will keep checking the situation.”
Weber also shot down reports of plans to merge with Swiss rival Credit Suisse Group AG. He said he speaks with Credit Suisse chairman Urs Rohner from time to time regarding issues such as regulation but has no plans for a Swiss bank mega-deal.
“UBS is not looking for partners; we are strong enough to shape our future alone,” Weber said.
The UBS chairman, however, did not exclude the possibility of deals with other lenders.
“We do not categorically rule out takeovers if they make sense for our global business model,” he said.
Bloomberg News reported in September that Weber had revived a wish list of potential mega-merger partners including Deutsche Bank AG and BNP Paribas SA.