UBS slashes £158m from IT and consultancy costs

Swiss bank UBS has removed £158 million from its ICT and consultancy costs, turning in its first quarterly profit for more than a year.

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Swiss bank UBS has removed £158 million from its ICT and consultancy costs, turning in its first quarterly profit for more than a year.

In the three months to 31 December, the bank cut £38 million from outsourcing compared to a year earlier. It spent 203 million Swiss Francs, or £122 million in the quarter.

Some of those savings (£23 million) come from the sale of its BPO unit to Cognizant, a sale that was closed in December for $82 million (£52 million).

The bank also cut £17 million from the “rent and maintenance” of IT equipment, compared to the same quarter in 2008. Costs in that area were 158 million Swiss Francs (£95 million).

The bank also managed to cut its telecommunications costs, which are understood to include networking, by £30 million to £99 million. This included savings from reduced postage.

The most dramatic cut came in consultancy fees, including IT, and professional services. UBS cut £73 million from costs, spending £217 million in the quarter.

UBS reported a quarterly pre-tax profit of 1.2 billion Swiss francs (£722.9 million), compared against a heavy loss of 9.58 billion Swiss Francs (£5.8 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2008.

In a statement he bank credited IT for contributing to successful cost cutting. “Non-personnel expenses”, it said, declined 17 percent, “mainly due to lower expenses for travel and entertainment, advertising and IT costs”.

Oswald Grübel, chief executive, wrote in a letter to shareholders that 2009 was a “transformative year” for UBS. The bank is working on “fully integrating” its operations, he wrote, as well as targeting “excellence in execution”.

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