William D. Cohan, Bloomberg
There is no point in mincing words: UBS AG (UBSN), the Swiss global bank, has been disgracing the banking profession for years and needs to be shut down.
The regulators that allow it to do business in the U.S. — the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Office of Comptroller of the Currency — should see that the line in the sand was crossed last week. On Dec. 19, the bank paid $1.5 billion to global regulators — including $700 million paid to the CFTC, the largest fine in the agency’s history — to settle claims that for six years, the company’s traders and managers, specifically at its Japanese securities subsidiary, manipulated the London interbank offered rate and other borrowing standards.
Libor is a benchmark index rate, off which trillions of dollars of loans are priced on a daily basis. According to the Wall Street Journal, two of the many victims of the Libor fraud — a scandal that so far has nabbed Barclays Plc and UBS but will probably include other large global banks — were the quasi-federal housing agenciesFannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which together claim to have lost more than $3 billion as a result of the manipulation.