UBS blames lack of risk control for subprime losses

22-04-2008

UBS blames lack of risk control for subprime losses
UBS has blamed a lack of risk control for its massive subprime losses in a report for shareholders.

The bank, which was the worst-affected by the subprime crisis in Europe, said its risk control framework was "insufficiently robust" in the report.

In addition, the bank said it was focussed on maximising revenues rather than examining risk. The top managers of the investment bank division did not have strong risk management backgrounds and a senior risk manager in fixed income was not hired, despite a plan to do so in 2006.

Although senior management expressed concerns about the bank's exposure to subprime assets in September 2006, no-one realised the extent of the problem until July 2007, the bank revealed. The group's CEO was not told about the issue until August 6th 2007.

The world's largest wealth manager has written down about $37 billion (£18.5 billion) in assets following the credit crunch. UBS also got rid of most of its senior management, including its chairman.

The report was a summary of a review UBS has sent to the EBK, Switzerland's banking regulator, which is probing the bank over its losses.

UBS intends to replace its chairman, Marcel Ospel, with Peter Kurer, the group's senior lawyer.

However, the move has been criticised by some investors, who would prefer a chairman with a stronger banking background.

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