Switzerland – the New India of UBS

UBS in Altstetten ZH

UBS in Altstetten ZH

UBS is spending billions on an IT platform through which it will channel all booking processes of its wealth management business in the future. This will create new jobs – but will they be based in Switzerland?

Juerg Zeltner, the UBS manager in charge of wealth management, recently unveiled the gigantic project for a new IT platform in Switzerland. The platform will act as some kind of hub for booking procedures in wealth management globally.

The manager promised to move IT jobs to Switzerland for the purpose, adding that the IT infrastructure for the new European bank would also be kept in the bank’s home country.

Project of Global Reach

On Monday, Dirk Klee (pictured below), Zeltner’s chief operating officer, told «Reuters» that the bank so far had spent about 1 billion francs on the project.

«This is about integrating our historically fragmented infrastructure that we have globally into one platform,» Klee said. The changes affected wealth management globally, outside the U.S.

Dirk Klee 500

Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore

In fact, Switzerland it seems is set to become the equivalent for Europe what India is in the world – a center for IT services. Starting in 2014, UBS migrated the German market to the Swiss IT platform. Step by step, wealth-management markets across the globe will follow suit, according to people close to UBS.

Sometime next year, the «One World Wealth Management Platform» will start delivering to the Hong Kong and Singapore branches and further European markets will follow suit during 2018.

Huge Manpower

The platform is based in Altstetten, in one of UBS’ offices in the Zurich region. Stefan Arn (pictured below), head of IT at wealth management, is in charge of the project.

Stefan Arn 500

Due to its size and complexity, some 1,400 people are involved in the project, according to Klee. Question is, will it translate into a huge number of new jobs for Switzerland?

More or Fewer Jobs?

Comments by Klee and Zeltner would suggest not. UBS is in the process of cutting costs to the tune of 2.1 billion francs – which means hundreds of job cuts.

And an IT project that costs 1 billion to complete will need to create synergies, scales, and in other words lower personnel costs.

The sources however claim that despite the best planning efforts, IT projects of this size inevitably remain unpredictable. And thus there were no clear guidelines on how many people would end up operating the platform.

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