David Prosser: Time for Grübel to say when he is going

 

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The Independent Online

Outlook If reports in the bank's home country of Switzerland yesterday are to be believed, UBS chief executive Oswald Grübel will ask the bank's board for a vote of confidence during the meetings it holds today and tomorrow, in order that he can stay on to deal with the response necessary to the rogue trader affair. He should not get it.

For one thing, it is not at all clear that Mr Grübel has the confidence of UBS shareholders. The largest of those, the Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, was unusually frank yesterday in calling for action at the bank. It rarely speaks so candidly in public.

Moreover, Mr Grübel does not seem to understand the seriousness of the charges against UBS. His response to criticisms of UBS's compliance failings has been to argue that no bank can ever protect itself completely against the efforts of a determined criminal. That is not acceptable: the charges laid against Kweku Adoboli allege wrongdoing that began three years ago. That UBS took so long to detect a problem, especially during a time when it said it was overhauling its risk management processes, is simply shocking.

Mr Grübel says he takes responsibility for everything that happens at UBS. If that is really the case, he should resign – or the board should ask him to do so.

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