Swiss banking giant UBS AG said it will cut 5,500 jobs or about one in thirteen workers, Bloomberg reports. The move came as the company reported a huge $11 billion loss in the first quarter. Bloomberg and the FT note that BlackRock will buy $15 billion in distressed subprime mortgages from UBS.
Bloomberg quotes a former UBS official as saying the investment-bank industry may have to cut 35 percent of its jobs.
So do Morgan Stanley and Merck
In more layoff news, Reuters reports Morgan Stanley will fire 5 percent of its staff or about 2,000 employees.
The Journal says Merck will slash 1,200 salespeople, about 15 percent of its sales force.
FAA-ilure to function
The Journal continues to hammer away on the Federal Aviation Administration story, reporting on A3 that the agency just didn’t do more than a hundred safety reviews of airlines, blaming “inadequate resources.”
The importance of those examinations became clear earlier this year amid revelations that FAA managers allowed Southwest Airlines Co. to fly planes that hadn’t undergone mandatory structural-safety inspections. The FAA hadn’t reviewed Southwest’s system for complying with agency safety directives since 1999, a fact the Transportation Department’s inspector general and other critics have pointed to as a missed opportunity to prevent the inspection lapse.
Europe’s attitude toward bribary evolves
The WSJ scoops on A1 that French engineering firm Alstom SA is under investigation for paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to win contracts—one similar to that of its competitor Siemens.
The paper says it shows that Europe is beginning to take that kind of corruption more seriously. Just a few years ago, bribing foreigners was legal in much of Europe—and tax deductible. The WSJ says Americans have long complained Europe’s more lax attitude toward bribery constituted unfair competition.