Sunday, 18 September 2011

Cheering The UBS Rogue Trader

I'm not really sure what trader Kweku Adoboli got up to at the Swiss bank UBS to run up debts of $2.3bn but whatever he was doing, he wasn't very good at it.
As we learnt to our cost a few years ago, traders receive a bonus that reflects the amount of profit they made for the bank during the course of the year, and this creates an incentive to take reckless bets with other peoples money.
Of course when it all goes wrong, the banks yelp and we come running with suitcases full of taxpayers cash to bail them out and we sack 500,000 public servants to pay for it.
Funny just how Socialist the Capitalist system can be when it is in trouble but anyway, UBS are $2.6 bn in the hole and we are left asking 'Who's gonna pay that then?'
In the 2008 case of Jerome Kerviel who massaged the books and cost his Bank Société Générale $7bn, a French court ordered him to repay the amount but he pleaded poverty and it was the banks shareholders that had to pay up through foregone profits and dividends.
Some of the losses were also borne by Kerviels colleagues, through reduced bonuses and the taxpayer money was left untouched.
Experts are predicting the same scenario for UBS but as they made a $6.4bn profit last year and have accrued a $4bn bonus pool for its employees, it shouldn't be a problem.
The brilliantly funny bottom line is that one of the banks got seriously burnt by one of it's own and it is the shareholders and Adoboli's colleagues that are going to have to take a hit to their obscene pay pocket to repay it. It doesn't cost us anything so every ones a winner except the bank and who gives a hoot about them now anyway.

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