Friday, March 15, 2013

UBS Pays Bonus to Execs Who Lost Money

It doesn't get any dumber than this at one of my previous employers.  UBS lost $2.6B in 2012 but paid its executives exactly that much in bonuses.  I do give the Swiss credit for precision in matching the bonus to the loss amount.  The supervisors I witnessed there in 2005-06 were sometimes competent and sometimes clueless.  They should note that moving up the ladder will require them to be more clueless than ever.

UBS also paid its new head i-banker $26M before he even showed up.  I'm not sure what this guy did at BofA to justify that kind of incentive, since BofA has only survived the last five years thanks to government handouts.  The clawback provisions won't matter because they won't be used.  The promise of future M+A action will largely go unfulfilled as the global economy re-enters recession.

The financial sector is the only part of our economy that rewards leaders who do not deliver shareholder value.

Full disclosure:  No position in UBS at this time.