UBS AG: The Cost of Failing to Manage Operational Risk
Dr Viola Makin and Chijioke Oji
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Wits Business School, University of the Witwatersrand
Ethics, Finance, Banking
On 15 September 2011, news of United Bank of Switzerland’s (UBS) operational failures in its investment banking division hit the market. Kweku Adoboli, a trader who worked at UBS’s central London branch, had beaten the control system and carried out a number of unauthorised trades. The trades cost UBS US$ 2.3 billion in losses – the biggest trading-related loss in the history of banking in Britain, with the impact felt across banks in Europe. Engulfed by calls for closer scrutiny of its entire operational system and trading culture, senior management at UBS fought hard to restore confidence in the bank.