April 3, 2012

UBS Loses More From Japan Equity Desk

Four Tokyo-based analysts, stock strategist depart firm

The Swiss bank UBS has lost a total of five people from its Japan equity desk, a week after the research team had been ranked second in Japan behind Nomura Holdings. The departures of four analysts and the team’s top stock strategist were confirmed Tuesday.

Bloomberg reported that the Tokyo-based team, ranked by Nikkei Veritas magazine, had included the chief stock strategist Shoji Hirakawa and the analysts Fumihide Goto, who covered makers of electronic parts; Shinsuke Iwasa, who covered media stocks; Aya Fujiki, an insurance company analyst; and the energy analyst Sakura Shimizu.

Mariko Eguchi, a spokeswoman for the bank, declined to say whether their departures were voluntary, or to comment on the timing, how many people remain on the equities desk, or whether they will be replaced.

In a statement, Eguchi said, “UBS is committed to offering a Japan research franchise that sustainably delivers local insight with regional and global perspective. We are continuing to invest strategically in that platform as appropriate.”

Hirakawa, according to Bloomberg, had started at UBS in 2002. he was ranked as Japan’s fifth-best equity strategist by Nikkei Veritas in its March 25 issue. It had also ranked Goto as the second-best analyst in the electronic parts sector.

UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti said in November that he planned to cut 2,000 jobs in the investment bank by 2016 in a move to boost profits and cut risk. The bank took a loss of $2.3 billion in the wake of unauthorized trades and experienced a shakeup in top personnel.

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