September 22, 2019 / 7:12 AM / 22 days ago

UBS won't pass negative interest rates to small savers - COO

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen in Zurich, Switzerland October 25, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

(Reuters) - UBS (UBSG.S) has no plans to pass on negative central bank interest rates to small savers but would introduce cost saving measures to deal with market conditions, the Swiss lender’s chief operating officer told media on Sunday.

“It is our clear goal to spare the small savers,” Sabine Keller-Busse told the paper in an interview with Swiss weekly NZZ am Sonntag published on Sunday. “It would be difficult to explain such a step to them.”

Interest rates are at record lows, and official borrowing rates have turned negative in large parts of the developed world. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) last week left its main policy rate at -0.75% and said it expects to stick to its ultra-loose monetary stance for the long haul.

Keller-Busse said UBS has introduced additional cost saving measures of 300 million Swiss Francs ($303 million), which apply to current expenses, such as costs for external consultancy or travel expenses.

It was also integrating previously outsourced positions. Over the past 18 months, UBS had cut 6,700 external jobs but increased its internal workforce by 5,600, cutting a net 1,100 jobs.

The lender is also striving to boost growth in the United States and Asia, she said. “Today, the U.S. contributes around 30% to earnings - we want to increase this significantly. In Asia, we plan to employ about a quarter more consultants within five years.”

($1 = 0.9907 Swiss francs)

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Sam Holmes

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