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Prize winner
Case
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Reference no. 714-004-1
Published by: London Business School
Originally published in: 2014
Version: January 2014
Revision date: 02-Dec-2014

Abstract

The UBS case outlines how individual ambition and lax organisational standards and oversight can lead to consistent unethical behaviour resulting in a crippling loss at a large investment bank. Even though the industry had as recently as 2007 been subject to the ramifications of similar behaviour with Jerome Kerviel's 4.9billion euros loss at Societe Generale, the UBS case highlights how quickly internal controls and ethical concerns can be overlooked. Intense external concerns, driven by a weakening economy, and institutional pressure, due to declining profits, forced internal controls and thorough explanations to be neglected in order to pursue profit. The case also highlights how weak corporate culture and unclear organisational structure can facilitate unethical behaviour. While individuals in Adoboli's role would be expected to lose money on occasion, personal incentive, both from financial gain and organisational advancement, drove Adoboli to conceal his losses from the bank.

Teaching and learning

This item is suitable for undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Time period

The events covered by this case took place in 2002-2012.

Geographical setting

Region:
Europe
Country:
United Kingdom

Featured company

UBS
Turnover:
CHF 25,443 billion
Industry:
Banking

Featured protagonist

  • Kweku Abdoboli (male)

About

Abstract

The UBS case outlines how individual ambition and lax organisational standards and oversight can lead to consistent unethical behaviour resulting in a crippling loss at a large investment bank. Even though the industry had as recently as 2007 been subject to the ramifications of similar behaviour with Jerome Kerviel's 4.9billion euros loss at Societe Generale, the UBS case highlights how quickly internal controls and ethical concerns can be overlooked. Intense external concerns, driven by a weakening economy, and institutional pressure, due to declining profits, forced internal controls and thorough explanations to be neglected in order to pursue profit. The case also highlights how weak corporate culture and unclear organisational structure can facilitate unethical behaviour. While individuals in Adoboli's role would be expected to lose money on occasion, personal incentive, both from financial gain and organisational advancement, drove Adoboli to conceal his losses from the bank.

Teaching and learning

This item is suitable for undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Settings

Time period

The events covered by this case took place in 2002-2012.

Geographical setting

Region:
Europe
Country:
United Kingdom

Featured company

UBS
Turnover:
CHF 25,443 billion
Industry:
Banking

Featured protagonist

  • Kweku Abdoboli (male)

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