UBS Goes Big, Goldman Leaves Vegas & Why You Need Bankers

by Derek Loosvelt | February 10, 2009

As expected, UBS went big this morning, reporting large losses for the fourth quarter 2008, even higher than analysts had predicted but lower than it posted a year earlier for the fourth quarter 2007.

Along with the losses came another 2,000 cuts in its investment banking unit, adding to the 9,000 it's sacked since 2007. No news surfaced on a possible marriage with a U.S.-based wealth management unit, but UBS did announce a change in its business structure that divided its wealth management division into two (one in the Americas and one everywhere else), perhaps prettying up itself for a suitor.

If it does enter into a union anytime soon, you can bet the ceremony and celebration won't be held in Vega$. Seems what happens in the Sin City is now moving to other cities, as Sin appears to go hand in hand with Greed, and no bank—including Goldman Sachs, which, following similar maneuvers by Wells Fargo and others, moved a tech conference from Las Vegas to San Francisco, which might end up costing rather than saving Goldman money, since cancelation fees have been reported to be more than half a million bucks—wants to have two of the seven deadly sins associated with its name, especially in times like these when banks have been entrusted with billions in taxpayer dollars to play blackjack, roulette and craps (that is, lend consumers and businesses money, which they haven't done and which is why several bank head honchos are taking the train to D.C. tomorrow—instead of taking the plane in order to appear to be acting frugally, although last time I checked it cost more to Amtrak to the capitol than coach class it on the shuttle—to answer to everybody's favorite Flintstone and Congressman, Barney Frank, about why the heck they haven't been lending their white-bearded Uncle's duckets, among other inquiries).

And in case you missed it, this Slate piece, "The Case for Bankers. They're not all villainous scum. And besides, we really need them," published this past Saturday and written by the chairman and editor-in-chief of the Slate Group, is well worth your time. It follows other articles like this one from the New York Times that talk about the bad rap that thousands of bankers are unjustly getting these days as a result of the sins of a few.

Filed Under: Finance


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