4/27/2008

Wealth mismanagement

A candid account of what went wrong

HOW did UBS, a Swiss bank whose core business is the staid one of wealth management, manage to lose $38 billion betting on American mortgage-backed assets, battering its core capital and share price in the process? Shareholders, out in force at the bank?s annual meeting on Wednesday April 23rd in Basel, asked just that question.

The mystery is being resolved. On Monday the bank released a summary of an internal investigation into the causes of the write-downs that had been demanded by the Swiss Federal Banking Commission. The 400-page report is now being chewed over by the regulator. Rivals should read it too. The report gives three broad explanations for the bank?s woes. The investment-banking arm?s preoccupation with growth, the reliance of the control team on flawed measures of risk and the culture of the bank. ...



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[Source: The Economist: News analysis

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