I finished the sequel in fall of and books 3 and 4 are under way. Barbara Lynne Ullom Heath.
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Living in Simi Valley, CA. I went on leave to be a stay at home mom for a few years. After living in the dessert for a few years, I transferred to a greener area, Dallas. The bank combined the image of the secretive and solid , but equally savvy asset manager with ambitious targets , aiming to become a major player in investment banking. As a result , in UBS was managing 1. It only became clear in that something was really going very wrong at UBS. In the middle of the year , CEO Peter Wuffli - considered a highly intellectual and equally brilliant banker - suddenly stepped down.
Some months later we could guess at why he had left. The investment division of the bank had gambled on subprime securities and was forced to write off billions. UBS announced a capital increase , believe it or not , of 13 billion Swiss francs to face the crisis. The bank actually managed to find investors , but investors many bankers would have respectfully declined a short while earlier - a less than transparent Asian sovereign wealth fund from Singapore and an Arabic sovereign wealth fund that was so secretive , even its name was not disclosed.
The bank was forced to announce new losses running into the billions and Chairman of the Board of Directors , Marcel Ospel - the second best paid chairman in Switzerland in - resigned. Catastrophe followed in October UBS faced collapse from a lack of investment during the financial crisis and had to be saved by the state.
The National Bank bought up toxic securities from UBS for untold billions and the Swiss Confederation paid six billion Swiss francs for a mandatory convertible bond to become part owner of the bank. The whole of Switzerland was shocked - the country recognised the dramatic consequences for a small country of being home to such large banks. After all , the balance sheet total for UBS in was more than five times the economic output of Switzerland see chart. The second catastrophe followed closely on the heels of the first.
A few months later , UBS capitulated in the tax dispute with the USA and declared that it was prepared to hand over the data of wealthy clients who had potentially avoided paying tax with the help of the bank. UBS also agreed to pay million dollars consisting of repayment of unjustified profits from the business and a penalty. UBS therefore more or less admitted having been an accessory to tax evasion. At the same time , UBS lost something that had always been its advantage when competing for rich clients - the fog of secrecy. Swiss banking secrecy was not the same after the scandal.
The CEO and the Chairman then resigned and. The bank had lost its credibility in both of its core business divisions within a few months - in investment banking thanks to bad speculation and in asset management by aiding and abetting tax evasion. And just as things had calmed down and UBS looked like it would start to turn things around , along came a disastrous rogue trader.
A single trader gambled away 1. One thing is clear - risk management in the investment banking division is still not working. The buildings are ostentatious and the shop rates are among the highest in Europe. A heavy revolving door opens onto the UBS reception. The walls within are clad in marble behind vast leather armchairs.
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UBS knows that its clients are looking for - security. But both the major Swiss banks , UBS and Credit Suisse , at some point ousted the Swiss banking concept - or betrayed it , as the head of one small Swiss private bank believes. He would prefer not to see his name in the newspaper - he too , like all Swiss bankers , does business with the two major banks. He believes UBS has grown too big - particularly in investment banking where the Anglo-Saxons are also very active. In his opinion , the Swiss have nothing to add. It was in fact Anglo-Saxon investment banking that changed UBS , brought in its first big profits - and then the debacle.
No other European financial institution has lost as much money in the subprime jungle as the major Swiss bank.
The catastrophe became evident on 15 October The politicians approved up to 68 billion Swiss francs around 45 billion Euros to save the bank from bankruptcy. Talking to Swiss banks , they see the issue mainly in the size of UBS. Two of the three major Swiss banks consolidated into a single , vast group in June A bank was created that was already too big for small Switzerland when the merger was agreed - and a bank that continued to grow. The fact that the two banks that went to form UBS complemented each other helped.
One was a wealthy but sedate bank specialising in asset management in Zurich and the other was less wealthy , but much more internationalised. The internationalised investment bankers suddenly had access to a lot of money that they could use to turn an almighty wheel. But Ospel in the end relied on Wuffli.
And Wuffli ultimately may have made a critical error. UBS wanted to get to the very top of the league. UBS was a major player in foreign exchange and stocks. Commissioned management consultants , however , pointed out a weakness. UBS had gaps in its US mortgage products. To plug the hole , UBS entered on an adventure that almost cost it its existence.
Hungry for growth , the bank itself and a hedge fund founded by the bank invested in US subprime securities. It developed into a vast machine that packaged up securities based on US mortgage credit and passed them on - while itself continuing to bear risks. Even when other banks had long been looking for a way out , UBS carried on.
The greater the rise , the greater the fall. One manager after the next had to go as the attempts to clean up proved more difficult than anticipated. Posts at UBS became a game of musical chairs and remain uncertain to this day.
Any head of the major bank now has an almost impossible job. He must find a strategy for a bank that has turned its back on all existing business models. Banking expert Geiger already has an idea - quit investment banking , focus on asset management and turn back to Swiss roots.
The bank , however , is not yet prepared to go that far. It is clear , nonetheless , that investment banking must shrink significantly. The new head of the bank , Sergio Ermotti , plans to present his future strategy to the world on Tuesday. Since then , he has proved his mettle and is now to head UBS permanently , the Zurich-based bank announced on Tuesday. Ermotti plans to take the investment bank back to where it was in the mids.
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Those are the questions Axel Weber is definitely already asking himself. Publicly , he has only so far that he and his wife will look for a flat in Zurich. Fear of recession in Europe depresses US stock exchange.