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UBS trading scandal highlights impact of lax risk management policies

Sep 27, 2011 Mike Garretson

The recent $2 billion trading scandal at Swiss bank UBS has been pointed to as an example of failed risk management practices. Kweku Adoboli, a 31-year-old UBS employee in the bank’s equity trading sector, has been charged with fraud and false accounting. Officials claim Adoboli "abused" his position and exposed UBS to excessive risk as a result of rogue trading practices. The scandal deals a blow to the Zurich-based bank's recently hired chief risk officer Maureen Miskovic, who had developed a reputation shaking up risk management at State Street bank in the U.S. "It's astonishing given the technology, the systems, the emphasis on risk. UBS has been focusing on it, post-crisis they've put more focus on it than a lot of other banks," an industry source told Reuters. Critics have held that the still developing crisis shows minimal oversight on the part of UBS, shedding light on an industry that relies, in many ways, on some staff members taking excessive risks to remain competitive and ensure returns on investment.