UBS Blames Investment Bank Strategy

UBS said its strategy to grow its investment banking operations 'was not planned in a sufficiently systematic manner' and contributed to big losses the bank suffered during the financial crisis.
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UBS

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, in a review of events related to the financial market crisis, said its strategy to grow its investment banking operations "was not planned in a sufficiently systematic manner" and contributed to big losses the bank suffered.

"The incentives in place at that time to generate revenues without taking appropriate consideration of the risks underpinned this strategy and facilitated losses," UBS said Thursday in its "Transparency report to the shareholders of UBS AG."

"Despite warnings, the bank falsely believed that its financial products in relation to the U.S. real estate market were valuable and sufficiently hedged against losses," the report said.

Despite the billions of dollars of losses the Swiss banking giant incurred during the crisis, UBS said it won't initiate legal proceedings against former executives and board members for mistakes made during the subprime crisis in the U.S.

UBS said it views any such proceedings being successful as "more than uncertain" adding that the cases could last for many years, be very costly and lead to negative publicity.

"What happened should not have been allowed to happen," said Kaspar Villiger, UBS chairman, in a statement Thursday. "With our decision to refrain from legal proceedings, we do not want to gloss over the mistakes made by UBS or absolve those involved of their corporate responsibility. We have learnt the lessons of the past and the new management is now placing UBS's focus on sustainable success. It is important that we can now concentrate on the future."

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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