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Adoboli Verdict: Harsh or Lenient?

I have no idea if 7 years in prison and a ruined reputation is too harsh or too lenient. He was a bad boy and strict punishment is undoubtedly deserved. It’s true that if he went into a bank and stole $2.3 million, rather than lost $2.3bn in trading, he’d get a much stiffer sentence, and the trial revealed that he has a somewhat delusional view of events and what he was doing.

But the fact that UBS itself is facing huge fines (FT: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/066fa132-34b2-11e2-8986-00144feabdc0.html) suggests that its loss of control and push for higher risk-taking created an environment that led to the losses (see the Economist, http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21567134-swiss-bank-also-has-much-learn-education-kweku-adoboli). That doesn’t excuse criminal activity, but if he had made the money back or was up, the fact is that it would be hushed up, and he’d get a $10million bonus/severance. The real question is, how often does that happen? (The answer, I’m afraid we all know, is 365 days per year.)

One Response to “Adoboli Verdict: Harsh or Lenient?”

EdDolanNovember 24th, 2012 at 7:01 pm

"loss of control and push for higher risk-taking created an environment that led to the losses . . . if he had made the money back or was up, the fact is that it would be hushed up, and he’d get a $10million bonus/severance."

I agree with everything here except the "loss of control" part. I some technical, managerial sense of "control," maybe that is true, but in another sense, it seems to me that the whole structure was operating just as the people at the top intended–taking large risks in the hope of making large profits–so I question whether that really represents a "loss of control" in the plain English sense of the terms.

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