LONDON (Reuters) - Swiss bank UBS (UBSG.S) plans to cut around six percent of its investment banking jobs in Europe in the coming weeks, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The Swiss bank plans to lose about 300 staff out of an estimated 5,000 currently working in front and back office roles in the region under ex-Merrill Lynch dealmaker Andrea Orcel.
The move comes after UBS imposed a pay freeze in February across its investment banking arm as banks in Europe try to cut costs to improve profitability.
In January, Barclays said it would cut 1,000 investment bank staff on top of some 7,000 job losses already announced. Deutsche Bank, UniCredit, Credit Suisse, HSBC and Standard Chartered also announced job cuts in the second half of 2015.
UBS has reshaped its strategy in the wake of the global financial crisis, slimming down its investment bank and focusing more on its wealth management business, which now accounts for more than half of its operating profit.
Market volatility, however, has shown that few banks are immune when tumultuous times prompt rich clients to retreat to the sidelines.
UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti said on Wednesday that challenging conditions had continued into 2016.
"Given the lack of clarity in certain aspects of regulation, there is also a risk that some costs that we view as temporary today may not fall away completely," Ermotti told a financial conference in London.
"Therefore the effects and associated costs of legal entity regulation, for example, mean that we are considering further changes in our processes in order to achieve our targets. This means the overall scope of gross savings has increased relative to the net target we have communicated."
A spokesman for UBS in London declined to comment.
Globally, UBS investment bank employs 11,794 as of the end of 2014, according to figures on its website.
UBS expects to maintain a significant presence in London, home to 5,425 of its employees, even if Britain leaves the European Union, Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti told a German newspaper on Mar. 8.
UBS is set to publish its annual report for 2015 on Mar 18.
Editing By Elaine Hardcastle