UBS has tried to draw a line under its upheavals during the global credit crisis, acknowledging serious errors but declining again to take legal action against former top managers.
In a 69-page “transparency report” prompted by a Swiss parliamentary committee this year, UBS reviewed the causes of its writedowns on toxic securities and its separate bruising crisis prompted by private bankers helping rich American clients to evade tax. “What happened should not have been allowed to happen,” said Kaspar Villiger, chairman.
In wealth management, UBS ascribed its problems to inadequate compliance. While measures were taken to improve compliance in US cross-border business, “such measures were implemented in a manner that was insufficiently rigorous, rapid or complete”.
Bluntly this is not good enough. Far from it. Switzerland enjoys fifth position on the Corruption Perceptions Index. But there is one of its biggest banks refusing to prosecute deliberate and sustained systemic corruption. I hope Switzerland drops to the bottom of the list next year as a result.
And that the officials are instead subject to prosecution in the USA.