UBS: another year of mega loss and mega bonuses?

Just follow this trail of events:

3rd of Feb 2009:
Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- UBS [...] hired more than 200 brokers in the U.S. in the fourth quarter as it sought to counter client defections.

The largest Swiss bank lured employees by offering signing bonuses of as much as 260 percent of the revenue the brokers brought in over the previous 12 months, said two people with knowledge of the matter who declined to be identified. [...]

It was one of the more aggressive deals that we’ve ever seen in this industry,” said Rick Peterson, the president of Rick Peterson & Associates, a recruitment firm in Houston.
Just a week later:
Feb. 10 2009 (WSJ) Swiss banking giant UBS AG announced further cuts at its troubled investment-banking operation Tuesday, saying it would cull more than 2,000 jobs as it reported a larger-than-expected loss for 2008.
[UBS Reports Loss, Plans Job Cuts] Reuters

UBS plans to cull more jobs from its investment-banking operations.

Only months after turning to the Swiss government for a bailout package, the Zurich-based bank reported a net loss of 8.1 billion Swiss francs ($6.92 billion) for the fourth quarter of 2008, down from a loss of 12.97 billion francs a year earlier, bringing its loss for the entire year to 19.7 billion francs.

UBS also said it would sharply reduce bonus payments as part of an agreement with Swiss regulators, paying out only 1.16 billion francs for 2008, compared with 7.91 billion francs in 2007.
I think this is the 6th consecutive loss (and all were in the many million dollars) but they will pay bonuses! For more information, you can check the full earnings report.
Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- UBS AG, Switzerland’s biggest lender, said it will offer investment bankers more pay this year after announcing 2,000 additional job cuts at the unit.
The bank is slashing 2008 bonuses for all staff, excluding U.S. brokers, by 78 percent to 2.16 billion francs, a bigger cut than any of its rivals, according to UBS. That may foster discontent and result in departures of “senior rainmakers” and delay a turnaround at the investment bank, analysts including Sanford Bernstein & Co.’s Dirk Hoffmann-Becking have said. UBS executives say the investment bankers will reap the benefits of a rebound in earnings.
Two jokes in the last sentence only:
  1. The US bankers will get more bonus on which grounds? Because they managed to create such an unbelievable mess?
  2. Rebound in earnings? Not for the coming several years, that's for sure.
It's really difficult to understand what is going on at UBS, as plan change every week and a lot of contradictory information if spread around...

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