Former UBS bosses face UK grilling on bank standards

LONDON Mon Jan 7, 2013 8:39pm GMT

Swiss bank UBS Chief Executive Officer Marcel Rohner gestures as he attends the results news conference of the bank in Zurich February 10, 2009. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Swiss bank UBS Chief Executive Officer Marcel Rohner gestures as he attends the results news conference of the bank in Zurich February 10, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Christian Hartmann

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LONDON (Reuters) - British parliamentarians will this week quiz UBS investment banking boss Andrea Orcel, former CEO Marcel Rohner and other past and present executives at the Swiss bank as part of their inquiry into industry standards, following a run of scandals that rocked UBS's London arm.

UBS was last month fined a record $1.5 billion (931.3 million pounds) by U.S. and UK regulators for rigging Libor interbank interest rates, more than three times the fine imposed on Barclays in June for manipulating Libor. The scandal prompted Britain to set up its Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards (PCBS).

Past and present executives are set to be asked about standards and culture at UBS. In recent years, the bank has also been hit by a $2.3 billion rogue trading loss, massive losses on U.S. sub-prime loans and a damaging tax avoidance row with U.S. authorities.

Orcel, the current head of UBS's investment bank, will be questioned on Wednesday alongside the bank's group chief risk officer, Philip Lofts, and its global head of compliance, Andrew Williams, the PCBS said on Monday.

Rohner will take the stand on Thursday along with Huw Jenkins, Jerker Johansson and Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, three former heads or co-heads of UBS's investment banking division.

The PCBS has spent most of its time so far assessing structural reform - last month it said legislation should be introduced to break banks up if standards slip - and is now expected to shift its focus to standards and culture.

The influential cross-party commission is headed by Conservative Andrew Tyrie and also includes the incoming head of the Anglican Communion, the next archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

Tyrie said at the time of UBS's Libor fine that the market rigging and corruption "beggar belief", adding: "It is the clearest illustration yet that a great deal more needs to be done to restore standards in banking."

(Reporting by Steve Slater and Brenda Goh; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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