UBS scandal undermines investment bank model

Published on The Globe and Mail, by Peter Thal Larsen, Sept. 16, 2011.

Ossie Gruebel must be regretting the day he agreed to take the helm at UBS (UBS-N11.880.474.12%) A $2-billion (U.S.) shock loss, apparently the fault of a single rogue trader, has dealt a huge blow to the Swiss bank’s post-crisis revival hopes. Though UBS can absorb the financial damage, the case for getting out of investment banking has been given renewed force. 

The exact nature of the unauthorized trades, which UBS only discovered a day ago, is uncertain. Police in London have arrested a 31-year-old man. According to the Swiss paper NZZ, the alleged culprit worked in the bank’s giant equities division. UBS says no client positions were affected. But it’s still unclear how the losses came about. Did a proprietary position go wrong? Or was it a result of an out-of-control trader in a supposedly safe client business, similar to Société Générale’s Jérôme Kerviel in 2008? … (full text).

For the next time you may watch the swiss debate in ARENA, 74.30 minutes, on SF1. .

Links:

The UBS on en.wikipedia;

UBS-Skandal: Was die Finma nun tun kann die Firma nun tun;

Einigung im Steuerstreit mit USA möglich; auf SF1;

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