Trial of UBS trader reveals weaknesses in bank data management systems

UBS’s recent unauthorised trading scandal, when Zurich-based trader Kweku Adoboli caused losses of some $2.3bn, most likely would not have been averted even with the best operating procedures in place.

According to, UBS may have fallen victim to the data management system process, which was unable to aggregate the necessary information quickly enough to catch up with Adobole’s trading.

Operations executives interviewed by ISS were unanimous in apportioning blame to the bank’s data management systems, not its operational procedures.

As one executive said, “it could have happened to any large bank. Like [rogue trader] Jérome Kerviel from Société Générale, Adoboli had some back office experience and knew how to take advantage of any shortcomings in how the data infrastructure worked.”

Adoboli is currently facing trial in London. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud, and of falsifying records on exchange-traded fund transactions and accounting-related documents. 

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