ZURICH Dec 4 Swiss bank UBS is
closing four branches in Germany that serve wealthy clients and
cutting up to 35 jobs as it seeks to improve profitability.
UBS said in a statement clients of its branches in Dortmund,
Essen and Rosenheim would be served in Duesseldorf and Munich
from the middle of 2013, while the Wiesbaden office would be
merged with the Frankfurt branch at the end of 2012.
"Germany is and remains one of the most important European
markets for UBS," UBS Germany chief Axel Hoerger said in a
statement. "With this new organisation, we are preparing
ourselves for an increasingly difficult market environment."
Swiss banks are struggling to build up profitable onshore
banking businesses in key European markets as the business of
offering wealthy clients offshore Swiss accounts has come under
pressure from neighbouring governments hunting tax evaders.
A UBS spokeswoman said that while UBS Germany was profitable
as a whole, its wealth management business in the country was
not yet making money although it was heading that way with net
new money inflows positive in the second half of 2012.
German state prosecutors said last month they had launched a
country-wide search of premises of UBS clients on suspicion of
tax evasion. UBS denies it helped clients evade tax.
UBS said from July 2013 it would retain branches in Berlin,
Bielefeld, Bremen, Duesseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Cologne,
Nuremberg and Stuttgart.
UBS said it was also cutting five jobs in fixed income in
Frankfurt as part of plans announced in October to cut 10,000
jobs worldwide as it slims down its investment bank.
(Reporting by Albert Schmieder and Emma Thomasson; Editing by