UBS

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UBS Reviews in United Kingdom

Updated Jul 18, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.3 135 reviews

76% Approve of the CEO

UBS CEO Sergio P. Ermotti

Sergio P. Ermotti

(37 ratings)

70% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • work-life balance; office culture; staff education(in 133 reviews)

  • Decent work-life balance, relaxed work environment, corporate perks(in 76 reviews)


Cons
  • Work-life balance is appalling if one wishes to get promoted(in 29 reviews)

  • Lack of clear strategy due to too many senior management changes(in 53 reviews)

135 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    • Culture & Values
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
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    • Approves of CEO

     

    Positive

    Associate Director, Business Analyst/FICC ChFCC (Former Employee) London, England (UK)

    ProsWorking with like minded driven, motivated colleagues
    Collaborative environment
    Great team ethos
    Supportive team and managers

    ConsFlat structure
    Pay
    Career development opportunities
    Cumbersome systems can slow down processes

    Advice to Senior ManagementReward colleagues appropriately

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    UBS Tal Acquisition responded to this review

    Jun 26, 2014

    Thank you for your suggestion.
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    One Year Intern

    Financial Analyst (Current Employee) London, England (UK)

    ProsFriendly environment and a good number of days off. In general rewards system is alright, but if you are looking for loyalty bonuses, this is probably not the best place for you. Employee tend to bounce around and change positions quickly even with-in the department.

    Cons- decreasing headcount and offshore direction
    - long hours
    - huge turnaround.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTry to keep you employees for longer. As an intern I "outlived" 7 permanent members of the team.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Great people, but process is king

    Software Developer (Current Employee) London, England (UK)

    ProsAll teams I have worked with (IT back office) were full of very good, very nice and helpful people. Many of them were also extremely dedicated, putting in the extra effort to get stuff delivered in the timelines posed by the business. All of my immediate line managers (UBS Directors, so VPs elsewhere) were down-to-earth, pragmatical people. All of them cared for their staff and were trying their hardest to develop them. The whole culture of the company encourages helpful relationships based on trust and respect. However, that is most prevalent between peers and line managers and subordinates, relationships of other kinds are not always so great.

    ConsFirst of all, the processes in place do not help but hinder development. L1 production support can only copy files and click "restart" buttons (and even then they make mistakes far too often), which means that dev teams get woken up in the middle of the night on a regular basis. Release process is excruciatingly painful, because of the aforementioned production support, as devs can't have access to prod. There is no notion of break glass scenarios, and mentioning it is met with immediate refusal.
    Work-life balance is appalling if one wishes to get promoted. And when that happens the compensation is not nearly enough to cover for the sleepless nights.
    Business has no idea how IT works and pushes back on any technical changes if they would mean longer delivery times for functional requirements. This leads to tremendous technical debts and poor quality software which is bolted on rather than built. Furthermore, business manages to forget about regulatory requirements and only highlights them at the eleventh hour, causing even more "tactical" solutions to be put in place.

    Advice to Senior ManagementIT management needs to be a partner to the business, not a indentured servant. Technical change and continuous improvement need to be part of the development process.
    People need to be appreciated and rewarded for their hard work and sometimes, but sometimes it feels like the management sentiment is that staff should be proud they work for UBS and solely on that basis give their best everyday.
    Management needs to have the courage to make decisions with the smallest number of people involved. There are weekly calls scheduled with over 200 people on the invite lists, where nothing apart from diluting responsibility is happening. Even on a more junior level, decisions are deferred as managers don't want to be blamed if something goes wrong.
    People that are not pulling their weight (there are not many) need to be let go. However, it seems management is scared of firing people, especially contractors, not even by not extending their contracts. Which means that destructive or useless people hang around for prolonged periods of time.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    Cost reduction is the mantra.

    Executive Director (Former Employee) London, England (UK)

    ProsWork life balance - there are a lot of flexibility and people do make use of it since accountability at UBS is nonexistent.

    People and team collaboration were the best thing at UBS before I left, but this is gone as most of the good people have resigned and majority of the jobs moved to cheaper locations.

    ConsUBS used to be a good company to work for, however nowadays the only focus management has is cost cutting, so management spends most of time figuring out a way to reduce costs and the staff worrying about when their jobs will be moved to a low cost location (i.e. India, Poland, Nashville-TN, etc). The current CFO is a job killer who only thinks about UBS's share price, so he and the rest of the Board can cash in their millions.

    For the past 4+ years the only thing management has focused is cost reduction - benefits are gone, and compensation is now below market, as a result the good people continue resigning in bunches everyday. The moral is so dismal that people really do not care about anything else anymore - they just come in for the pay check until they find another job.

    A few years ago the Head of HR came up with a non sense employee performance measurement that destroy whatever was left in terms of moral, but he still employed by UBS so you get an idea of how bad management really is.

    Career growth at UBS is a thing of the past. Management keeps saying that the jobs in the future will be more interesting, however the only thing people will be doing in a few years is managing the mess created by the offshoring people who have no clue what they are doing. In order to remediate such low quality work provided by UBS's offshore "partners", UBS has more people in Operational Risk, Internal Audit and bureaucratic functions, than actually people doing work and really advising the business and dealing with regulatory issues. If you want to deal with bureacratics who do not understand anything, UBS may be the place for you.

    In addition, a lot of Senior Management has resigned lately, but instead of promoting people who are competent and have been loyal to the firm for years UBS continues to bring people from outside, so when they tell you that there is a career growth opportunity think twice about it.

    The bottom line is Management does not care about anything other than cost reduction, so if you want to spend most of your time dealing with cost/operational plans, and have stomach to say ok to everything they say that's the perfect place for you.

    Advice to Senior ManagementFire the CFO and the Head of HR, and start looking for internal candidates for Senior level roles instead of hiring outsiders.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    UBS Tal Acquisition responded to this review

    Jun 26, 2014

    Thank you for taking the time to share your insight.
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    4 people found this helpful  

    Beware! It's a Prison

    Director (Current Employee) London, England (UK)

    Pros- Base Compensation is good is you negotiate well
    - Great brand name for clients
    - Decent systems (though London platform is relatively antiquated)

    ConsEveryone wants to leave because:
    - Bonus, what bonus? Your bonus is to be employed here! People were amazed to hear that the gross bonus pools were up - and the largest in the industry and then everyone receives zero bonuses - clearly the pool is skewed towards the very top.
    - Process driven, risk obsessed culture - you will be rewarded for NOT booking business
    - AML, Legal & Compliance are literally prison wardens - it is very easy to get into huge trouble here and the punishments are severe - to deter others.
    - Opening accounts takes ages (3 - 6 months in London, vs. 4 weeks in Zurich) - many cases clients simply go to Zurich for the business.
    - Obsessed with getting new AUM at all costs and then driving clients into low return, expensive discretionary mandates above any other business. In practice we end up with lots of clients who generate no real revenue.
    - Culture of victimisation against whistleblowers - speak up, be fired
    - Siloed business model - your biggest competitors will be UBS Zurich, UBS Geneva, UBS Singapore...
    - Psychos for managers - please see Alec Baldwin's scenes in "Glengarry Glen Ross" - its hard to believe, but this is what our weekly sales meetings are like.

    But no one can leave because:
    - They hide restrictive (if legally unenforceable) provisions in their employment contracts - e.g. you cannot work for another competitor or potential competitor in the UK for 3 months after resigning! No you will not be paid during this time.
    - If you are on an employer sponsored work permit - you only have 2 months to find another sponsored role - which is not possible because of the restrictive covenant.
    - Don't bother going to HR - it's a "cloud" service here (I am yet to meet anyone from HR who is not in external recruitment). All HR engagement is via the intranet or by telephone.
    - The only way to avoid this is to go through redundancy - so everyone is putting in their worst possible work so they can escape via the prison sewer system!

    The general atmosphere is one of fear and resignation - people are literally tricked into the bank and then trapped and resigned to a life of legal slavery. If offered a role here, please watch "Glengarry Glen Ross" or "12 Years a Slave" they perfectly describes the situation within this bank.

    Advice to Senior Management- If you treat your employees like prisoners, don't expect them to drive your business growth. Instead create a culture that people love and then you can genuinely attract and retain great people.
    - Your obsessive focus on attracting new AUM is the direct cause of your declining relative revenues. Focus on revenue growth and the AUMs will follow.
    - Eliminate all forms of internal competition - why should clients be confused about which UBS is UBS?
    - Share the wealth - you are risking revolution by paying yourselves 95% of the bonus pool and leaving the rest of the firm to fight over scraps. Eventually you will only be able to attract the very worst employees and they will drive all of your clients away.
    This is a bank that used Swiss privacy to build and sustain its business and now that this is gone, is still acting like they don't need to adapt to client's requirements or compete for great employees - good luck with that.

    I'm with the escapees - planning a prison break.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    UBS Tal Acquisition responded to this review

    Jun 26, 2014

    Thank you for sharing this with us.
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    big name but nothing special

    UBS Wealth Management Intern (Current Employee) London, England (UK)

    Pros...........not a lot of pros in UBS London, it is below average.

    Cons......................a lot of bureaucracy and difficult to work because of internal processes.

    Advice to Senior Management................no professional, strong management

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Good anyway

    Business Analyst (Former Employee) London, England (UK)

    ProsPeople are nice, although professionals are quite senior they still treat me very well with friendly environment and not a special feeling at all.

    ConsIt depends on teams, if you get involved in a team where bosses like to talk to girls while you are just a man then you are just not lucky.

    Advice to Senior ManagementNo advice.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    Good company, but too big and bureaucratic

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) London, England (UK)

    ProsPotential to participate in relevant projects in big companies

    ConsToo much internal focus, bureaucratic

    Advice to Senior ManagementPut in place the values in the internal relationships among Lines of Business

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    UBS Tal Acquisition responded to this review

    Jun 26, 2014

    Thank you for your suggestion.
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

     

    Internship

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsLearned a lot during my stay

    ConsCouldn't find any cons during my time there

    Advice to Senior ManagementNo advice required for management

    UBS Tal Acquisition responded to this review

    Jun 26, 2014

    Thank you for the feedback.
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    I had a very nice working experience in UBS

    Associate Director (Former Employee) London, England (UK)

    Prosenjoyed working with really smart people in the industry

    ConsDon't think e experienced anything negative while I was there.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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