Wednesday, March 17, 2010
UBS's New Savior
"Oswald J. Grubel gave a dazzling performance as head of Credit Swiss from 2004 to 2007, doubling the Swiss bank's profit and share price. ... The CEO has made no progress, however, on the bank's most pressing problem: withdrawals by wealthy clients, who have removed $214 billion over the past seven quarters. The outflow increased in the fourth quarter and will probably continue, analysts say, as uncertainty persists about the outcome of US efforts to investiagte alleged tax evasion by UBS clients. ... Grubel, known as 'Ossie,' says he is counting on the return to profitability to help make UBS 'a trusted bank again. ... UBS's tax dispute with the US will only complicate Grubel's task. ... The Swiss adminstrative court muddled the picture last month by blocking the government from passing some of the data to US authorities; judges ruled that the failure to file certain IRS forms, a key part of the UBS settlement, wasn't considered fraud in Switzerland", Elena Logutenova at Businessweek, 22 February 2010, link:
If UBS doesn't want to serve its clients by keeping their data from the IRS, it will lose them. Eventually these people will realize when push comes to shove, banks and the authorities will cooperate. When that happens, these people will leave the banking system and buy gold.