Friday, 21 December 2012

UBS - Whiter than a White Lie?

Back in 2005, I contracted to UBS in London on a Sarbanes-Oxley (risk/governance) remediation project.  Part of the recruitment process was that Kroll Worldwide would run a background check on my CV.

Kroll asked me to clarify what I'd been doing for a period of only a few weeks' gap in part of my CV.  Penna Meridian, the outsourcing company Merrill Lynch engaged as part of my redundancy package in my previous role with them, had emphasised the importance of showing continuity of employment and had advised me to offer any explanation other than 'looking for work' - they recommended that I should say something like I'd been on holiday.

This I duly did, telling Kroll that I'd returned briefly to Australia to visit family and friends - thinking that would be the end of it.  It wasn't.  They came back again seeking a statement from someone who knew me confirming this.  Rather than perpetuate the lie or embroil anyone else in my innocent deception, I put my hands up and explained that I'd been acting on professional advice.

UBS's HR department later contacted me to say that I could never work for them again in any capacity - albeit that they called me back the following year for Phase II of the project.

Although I subsequently contracted to Bank of New York Mellon, I've now been out of work for some considerable time and I occasionally wonder if that minor indiscretion led to me being blackballed by other City employers.

My point is, while my role at UBS ironically helped to put a monitoring framework in place to provide greater transparency and establish internal ownership of specialised investment vehicles, someone as diligent as me was passed over while those who later went on to fix Libor rates or otherwise engaged in fraudulent activities made the cut.

Yes, I'm bitter - and I'm frankly disgusted that more bankers aren't in jail.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Dear Bank Manager (Part 2)

As you haven't responded to my last idea, can you please qualify why whole countries are going down the pan - and the UK itself is living beyond its means - yet you treat us like some sort of criminals for struggling to make up the payment shortfall you've imposed on us with your latest mortgage rate increases? [which, incidentally, became 'necessary' as a direct result of your own recklessness].

Using your threats to exercise your charge over our home as the standard strategy for debt recovery, who would take possession of Greece e.g. when their debt mountain collapses? - where would a whole nation be expected to live?  And why can Governments be bailed out with rescue plans spanning years yet you're already getting trigger happy about what might only be a couple of months arrears?

You seem to have abandoned most of the factors previously taken into account when assessing someone's risk profile and focused entirely on capacity to repay.  In our case, you're not exposed while we have around 50% equity in our home and, despite my continuing inability to find work, I've held some responsible and well paid positions in the past and my prospects are still good.

You also don't seem to grasp that, if you realise on your security, that will be one less loan accumulating interest for you in a market where you're already having trouble getting rid of the stuff.  But that shouldn't change the outcome much - as soon as I find work again, you'll lose my business anyway for failing to be as loyal to me as I've been to you.

You need to get back to basics and stop pigeonholing people - understand your customer and use some common sense.