UBS says 1,000 jobs Brexit exodus is "unlikely"

UBS says 1,000 jobs Brexit exodus is "unlikely"

Swiss bank UBS has said that a migration of more than 1,000 jobs from London as a result of Brexit is "more and more unlikely" after receiving "regulatory and political clarifications".

The comments, reported by the Financial Times, came from the bank's chief executive Sergio Ermotti who was speaking to reporters on a conference call in which he also expressed doubt about the viability of cryptocurrencies but much more support for the underlying distributed ledger technology.

But it was the CEO's comments on Brexit that garnered most interest. Back in January the bank's chairman Axel Weber had warned that more than a fifth of the 5,000 UBS staff employed in London could be forced to move as a result of Brexit.

The fears were downplayed by Ermotti though who said that the "worse case scenario" was looking "more and more unlikely... because we also got some regulatory and political clarifications about what we need to do". 

Ermotti did also say that the bank is clarifying its plans about where people will need and want to go once Brexit is enacted but the target is "to keep as many people in London as we can".

He did not give details as to what the aforementioned clarifications were but Ermotti's comments are likely to be welcomed by Brexit supporters who are keen to play down fears that the decision to leave the EU will lead to a job exodus. 

As regards the bank's blockchain plans, CNBC reported that Ermotti said he was not necessarily a beliver in cryptocurrencies, "but I believe there is a future for blockchain technology, and technology will play a big role in changing and reshaping our industry".

UBS is one of the partners in blockchain project Batavia, along with IBM and some other banks including Bank of Montreal and Commerzbank.

"Our strategy there is very simple," said Ermotti. "We try to initiate and get as many other financial institutions and clients into teams like trade finance with other banks and IBM was a successful venture," Ermotti said.

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