UBS Guilty of Almighty Failure of Control Over Rogue Trader Kweku Adoboli

Kweku Adoboli

Only an almighty failure of control at UBS could have allowed Kweku Adoboli to lose $2.3bn (£1.4bn) via rogue trading and, sure enough, the details within the Financial Services Authority's report are damning.

There was the warning signal ignored – a huge surge in net revenues from Adoboli's trading desk. In 2010 the figure had been $9m for the whole year but by the second quarter of 2011 it stood at $52m. Some increase had been expected after risk limits were increased but not on that scale: "The desk's management did not make any enquiries into how the increase in revenue was being generated," says the report.

There was a cultural problem, with the back office disinclined to challenge traders when discrepancies in trading books were spotted; the preference was to help traders clear so-called "breaks" on the basis of the explanations they provided.

And there was the failure of the computer system that was designed to stop rogue trading. Its report on Adoboli's area of operation was sent to the wrong supervisor and wasn't even functioning in respect of futures trades until August 2011.

UBS's systems and controls were "seriously defective" concluded the FSA as it imposed a £29.7m fine. The regulator is obliged to stick to the facts of the case rather than speculate on motives. But we don't have to be so pure: UBS was too busy counting the profits to examine their source properly.

Powered by article was written by Nils Pratley, for on Monday 26th November 2012 15.21 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


image: © thetaxhaven

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