11 Feb 2009

UBS posts record loss, cuts jobs

7:50 am on 11 February 2009

Switzerland's biggest bank UBS said it lost about $US17 billion dollars in 2008, the largest full-year loss in Swiss corporate history, and announced it would cut another 2,000 jobs.

UBS said 40% of the loss occurred during the last three months of the year.

The bank, one of the hardest hit by the United States subprime crisis and the ensuing financial market fallout, said more jobs would go this year at its investment bank unit, which was responsible for most of the damage incurred by the bank.

After posting its second consecutive full-year loss, the bank's chief executive officer Marcel Rohner reiterated a projection made earlier that the bank would be profitable in 2009.

However, the bank warned that it remained "cautious" and that it would continue to cut costs and risks.

It announced another 2,000 job cuts in its investment banking unit on Tuesday, bringing total job losses since October 2007 to 11,000.

An icon of Swiss banking, UBS has experienced two very turbulent years, with billions in asset writedowns and losses that forced it to take on an emergency state aid package late last year.