UBS AG (NYSE:UBS) chief executive, Andrea Orcel, on Wednesday shared deep insight on the company’s stand following the interest-rate fixing scandal that shrouded the whole U.K banking sector in a controversy last year. Orcel, who was addressing a U.K parliamentary committee examining how banks were fixing the damage post-libor, said that UBS was in the process of rooting out negative elements in its cultural fabric. “So there are certainly elements of our culture that are negative and that we need to root out, and that we are in the process of rooting out,” he said.
Orcel, who also revealed that the rate scandal had cost the bank $1.5 billion, exclaimed that UBS AG (NYSE:UBS) had lost sight of its historical principles and cultures during its viral growth in the 2000’s. “UBS like other organizations did not have one uniform culture because it went through the last decade expanding, hiring from multiple organizations, buying, etc., etc”. Orcel also argued that this loss of culture set the platform to stage what would later become the interest-rate fixing scandal. Orcel also said that the problem was partly caused by UBS’s lack of familiarity with some of the businesses it was running, making it hard to maintain a desirable fashion of integrity in such segments.
As we reported in December, UBS AG (NYSE:UBS) had agreed to the Libor accusations and, as mentioned earlier, signed off to paying $1.5 billion as penalty. What’s interesting however is that UBS had similar scandals in its slate; for instance, the Tokyo Interbank Offered Rate (Tibor) and the Europe Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor). However, these other scandals were overshadowed by the bigger Libor scandal.
‘Rooting out’ has already begun
In a demonstration of what Orcel described as ‘rooting out the negative elements’, Andrew Williams, the global head of compliance at UBS, told the hearing that 18 of the 40 people who were candidly involved in the attempted interest-rate manipulation at the bank had been dismissed. Mr Orcel, accented William’s remarks by adding that the remaining staff connected to the scandal have been penalized or reprimanded.
Former executives at UBS AG (NYSE:UBS), including Marcel Rohner, its CEO between 2007 and 2009, will present evidence to the same panel on Thursday. The parliamentary committee was effected last year after the whole libor issue blew up, pulling in Barclays PLC (LON:BARC) (NYSE:BCS) as the first big bank to get involved.