UBS Unveils Bonus for Junior Staff, Encourages ‘Wellness Hour’

UBS AG has introduced a new bonus for junior bankers and shifted the payment of incentives to August, as the bank seeks to support younger hires.

The payment will apply to global banking analysts upon promotion, it said in a memo seen by Bloomberg and first reported by Financial News. The Swiss lender has also shifted year-end reviews for analysts to the summer “in line with general market practice” and it’s seeking to quickly fill vacancies to alleviate the strain on staff.

The bank also encouraged employees to take advantage of existing programs to support mental health, amid a rising tide of complaints in the industry about excessive workloads.

“We know that maintaining your work-life balance is challenging given the demanding deal pipeline and existing remote working environment,” UBS investment bank executives Ros Lesperance and Javier Oficialdegui wrote in the memo. “We’ve taken some steps to try to alleviate the effect this could potentially have on your physical and mental health.”

The move by UBS is the latest in a string of measures taken by banks, after an outcry about excessive work cultures. The furore was sparked when a leaked internal presentation by junior analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. documented their intense workloads and set Wall Street abuzz.

Several major banks, including JPMorgan and Goldman, have promised to lighten the load as a result, with senior bankers at Goldman Sachs relying more on executive assistants to help manage schedules rather than using first-year analysts for such work.

UBS too has faced criticism. It recently posted a recruitment video on social media that depicted a young banker stepping away for an hour to meditate and do yoga in the middle of her workday. As skeptical responses piled up, the firm took down the video.

The memo however reminded employees of the existence of a “Wellness Hour” to “step away and recharge.”

The lender is also weighing some workplace changes at its U.S. operations following feedback from employees, Tom Naratil, co-head of wealth management at UBS globally, said last month. Staff indicated they want more personal time, he said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.