UK watchdog fines UBS over trading scandal

Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:48pm EST
 
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By Caroline Copley

ZURICH (Reuters) - UBS was fined 30 million pounds ($48 million) by Britain's financial watchdog and put under extra scrutiny by its Swiss counterpart over failings that allowed a rogue trader to lose $2.3 billion.

Announcing the fine on Monday, the director of enforcement at Britain's Financial Services Authority (FSA) said the Swiss bank's risk control systems were "seriously defective."

Kweku Adoboli, a trader on UBS's Exchange Traded Funds desk in London, was jailed for seven years last week after admitting trading far in excess of authorized limits in the biggest fraud in British history.

"Failures of this type in firms of the size and standing of UBS not only damage the firms concerned but also wider confidence in the integrity of the markets and the financial system," the FSA's Tracey McDermott said.

In a separate announcement, the Swiss financial regulator Finma said it was examining whether UBS should increase capital to back its operational risks. A Finma spokesman declined to elaborate.

Espirito Santo Investment Bank analyst Andrew Lim doubted whether the Swiss regulator would push UBS to raise more capital because the bank was already in a strong position.

"The fine is immaterial and the steps on the capital front are also immaterial because they are so well capitalized," Lim said.

"Finma is just doing a 'belt and braces' approach and showing they are at the forefront on being tough on regulation," he added.   Continued...

 
A woman walks past a logo of Swiss bank UBS at a building in Zurich November 13, 2012. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer