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UBS Americas to hire fewer advisers in restructuring

The logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen at the company's headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland February 10, 2015. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - UBS's (UBSG.S) wealth management business in the Americas will cut back recruitment of financial advisers by 40 percent as part of a broader restructuring by Tom Naratil, the former finance chief who took over as Americas head at the start of 2016.

UBS Americas, headquartered in New York and New Jersey, has around 7,145 advisers, more than its target range of 6,500 to 7,000, but does not intend to cut jobs, it said.

"We are not cutting down our advisers at all," a spokeswoman said. "We are recruiting less. We want to retain the ones we have."

UBS Americas has swelled its ranks by poaching bankers from Credit Suisse, its Swiss rival that closed its U.S. private banking business on the grounds that it was too small to compete.

Under the plans, UBS Americas will also strip out a regional layer of its structure.

It is tweaking its compensation plan to reward bankers who manage more assets and promote team building, as well as to encourage advisers leaving the business to transfer their practice to another UBS adviser.

Part of the reasoning is to reduce volatility in hiring and retaining client advisers.

Many private banks are looking to boost profitability by cutting costs, a response to tough financial markets and record-low interest rates which have been a drag on revenues.

UBS's wealth management business outside the Americas, headed by Juerg Zeltner, aims to cut costs by hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a memo seen by Reuters last month.

(Reporting by Joshua Franklin, Angelika Gruber and Michael Shields; Editing by Ruth Pitchford and Alexandra Hudson)