UBS Makes It Easier for Exiting Employees to Collect Bonuses

UBS Group AG is allowing employees to collect bonuses immediately after leaving the bank as the Covid-19 crisis prompts more workers to reconsider their careers.

The Swiss wealth manager changed its rules on deferred compensation for former staff who exit the financial industry entirely. UBS says the aim is to give more flexibility to employees as many reevaluate their life choices.

“This is not about managing underperformers,” Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti said during a third-quarter analyst call on Tuesday. “We realized during the Covid crisis across the board — and its not just managing directors — people are thinking about re-prioritizing their life.”

Employees who have left the bank between 2015 and 2019 will also benefit from the change, Chief Financial Officer Kirt Gardner said on a call with journalists. As a result, UBS paid out a total of $359 million in the third quarter to employees exiting across the bank, with $229 million going solely to those quitting the investment bank.

Ermotti said UBS doesn’t consider it appropriate to stand in the way of people who want to change careers, particularly because it has a longer vesting period than many of its peers. The CEO is preparing to make way for former ING Groep NV CEO Ralph Hamers, who takes over next month.

The change does not apply to executive management members or to financial advisers working in the Americas business.

UBS will also pay an additional week’s worth of salary to some 25,000 employees in less senior ranks in recognition of the challenges they faced this year. The total payout of $30 million will be part of the personnel expenses booked in the fourth quarter.

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