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UBS admits banks too arrogant

Wednesday, January 09, 2013 - 02:04

Jan. 9 - UBS investment banking chief, Andrea Orcel, has told British MPs at a hearing on industry standards that bankers have been too arrogant and that industry-wide changes to prevent further scandals. Ivor Bennett reports.

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UBS has become the latest victim in the hunt for banking scapegoats. Executives from the Swiss bank were forced to explain themselves to British MPs as part of a look at banking standards. It was set up after to the Libor rate-rigging scandal, which saw UBS fined 1.5 billion dollars. Andrea Orcel took over the company's investment arm in November and admits the industry must clean up its act. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UBS INVESTMENT BANKING CHIEF EXECUTIVE ANDREA ORCEL, SAYING: "There are certainly elements of our cultures which are negative and that we need to root out. I think we all got probably too arrogant, too self-convinced that things were correct the way they were. and I think the industry needs to change" Rogue trader Kweku Adoboli is just one of a series of scandals to hit UBS in recent years. He lost the bank 2.3 billion dollars. It also suffered 50 billion dollars of mortgage-related losses in the US, as well as a tax avoidance row. Most recently, UBS's Libor fine was the second biggest ever for a bank - and three times more than what Barclays got. Executives told the committee around 18 people were fired over the rate-rigging scandal. But MPs suggested more were at fault. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LORD LAWSON, SAYING: "Either all the senior management were in it and there's a reasonable presumption that they were. Or the senior management was incompetent. Which was it?" (SOUNDBITE) (English) UBS HEAD OF GLOBAL COMPLIANCE ANDREW WILLIAMS, SAYING: "The senior management of the bank weren't aware of the conduct at the bank. I don't think that means the senior management at the time were incompetent. But i think it clearly highlights the complexity of the business that we were conducting at the time meant that our management was ineffective, and that's part of the reason why frankly, we've got out of some of those lines of business." UBS says it's simplifying its investment arm to make it less risky. And while Orcel also promised to restore the bank's honour after Libor...he couldn't guarantee a similar scandal won't happen again.

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UBS admits banks too arrogant

Wednesday, January 09, 2013 - 02:04

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