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UBS says Q1 is "one of the worst" in recent history

UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti. Photo: Michele Limina/AFP/Getty Images

UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti told investors at a conference in London on Wednesday that the investment bank had “one of the worst first-quarter environments in recent history,” an announcement that has worsened since Ermotti's "cautious" predications from last week, Bloomberg reports.

The state of play: Ermotti cited slow IPO and merger activity outside the U.S. Compared to one year ago, investment banking revenues for UBS are down about a third. Ermotti also noted the bank is slowing down hiring and IT projects to balance out weak markets.