Thursday, September 15, 2011
UBS — Still not able to rest
We were hard on UBS last month when we made fun of their motto, "We will not rest." We said the line was grandiose, not credible and ill-suited to an industry struggling to return to sobriety after years of reckless greed.
Will not rest? It's just not smart to promise what you can't deliver—any marketer knows that. Not to be taken literally? I wrote: "Not to be taken seriously."
Well, here comes the dreaded confirmation of the foolishness of that tagline. UBS just announced that a supposed rogue trader lost more than $2 billion in unauthorized bets, seriously compromising the bank's operations and plans. The loss is being called a massive failure of oversight and evidence of deeply flawed risk management. It confirms that the tagline's promise is a false claim of vigilance.
Will not rest? How about UBS—Asleep at the switch
Okay, that's a cheap shot. I take it back. But the point is, going to market with the line "we will not rest" is leading with your chin. As it turns out, a single UBS trader ("unauthorized" "rogue" whatever) was able to find his colleagues dozing at their desks—and the rest is history.