Europe News

Fresh UBS Rogue Trading Revelations

Caroline Binham, Financial Times

UBS suffered unauthorised trading on the Africa desk of its UK wealth management division in 2007 and initiated a root-and-branch review of its compliance procedures, a UK tribunal has heard.

UBS headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.
Steffen Schmidt

The revelation of fresh rogue trading incident comes as Sergio Ermotti, the new chief executive of UBS, is set to tell investors in New York on Thursday how he will overhaul the troubled bank following a $2.3bn trading scandal this year. Kweku Adoboli, a former UBS employee charged with fraud and false accounting, is due in the coming days to enter a plea in the case that caused the $2.3bn trading loss for the bank. The discovery of the substantial trading loss led to the departure of ex-chief executive Oswald Grübel.

Mr Ermotti is expected to set out a drastic cut to the investment bank with a shift away from the fixed-income business. Analysts at JPMorgan suggested on Wednesday that it would be “in both shareholders’ and [the] Swiss government’s interest” for UBS and Credit Suisse to combine their investment banks.

Disclosure of the Africa desk incident came on Wednesday at a tribunal where John Pottage, UBS’s former UK head of wealth management, is challenging a £100,000 fine from the UK’s Financial Services Authority, which has said that he should have spotted “serious flaws” in risk management sooner. Mr Pottage argues that he took all reasonable steps to eradicate “sloppy” compliance.

Both sides agree that a string of incidents occurred within UK wealth management, including a payment fraud, client-money reconciliation problems and misuse of client money.