Citywire for Financial Professionals
Stay connected:

View the article online at

Rogue trader: banks have done nothing to stop fraud

The jailed trader behind a £1.4 billion fraud at UBS has warned that major banks have done little to tackle cultural failings.

Rogue trader: banks have done nothing to stop fraud

The jailed trader behind a £1.4 billion fraud at UBS has warned that major banks have done little to tackle the culture which allowed him to carry out his crimes and remain vulnerable to major scams.

Kweku Adoboli (pictured), who was jailed four years ago for the largest financial fraud in British history, said many of the same pressures which led him to begin to fake his results were still widespread.

In his first interview since being released last year, having served half his seven-year sentence, Adoboli told the BBC that decreased banking profitability was creating additional pressures on staff.

‘I think the young people I’ve spoken to, former colleagues I have spoken to, are still struggling with the same issues, the same conflicts, the same pressures to achieve no matter what,’ he said.

‘If investment banks continue to chase the same level of profitability as they have in the past, the only way to generate those profits is to take more risk.’

He said a failure to prosecute senior management following the financial crisis had allowed a culture of immunity to develop and incentivised aggressive and sometimes irresponsible risk taking .

‘The industry doesn’t learn… perhaps there are bad people in the industry. I think it’s about culture. The culture is set at very senior levels of the industry. They [bosses] have as much responsibility for what the outcomes are as those pushing the buttons.’

The Financial Conduct Authority faced an intense backlash at the beginning of the year when it dropped a long-running enquiry into the culture of banking. Former chancellor George Osborne was perceived as having moderated pressure on the industry following last year’s surprise election win.

Adoboli said that he felt remorse over his actions but added that he had not been trying to act for personal financial gain.

3 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Henry Wilson

Aug 03, 2016 at 00:27

Whilst not defending Mr Edaboli conduct if the penalties the Banks face are smaller then the gains this type of conduct will continue until senior personnel face similar sentence's

report this

William Phillips

Aug 03, 2016 at 12:21

At Nuremberg the defence from the smaller fry of 'I was only obeying orders' was ruled inadmissible.

Nowadays the big bods at the banks say 'I gave them orders but did not ensure they stuck to them' and escape prosecution.

Wilful negligence is a good defence, it seems.

report this

Donald Chan

Aug 07, 2016 at 09:28

I think it is time for all the banks to re-visit their mission statements. I never had much time for m/s but as far as the banks are concerned, they need to look very closely at their purpose and ethics.

report this

leave a comment

Please sign in here or register here to comment. It is free to register and only takes a minute or two.

News sponsored by:

The Citywire Guide to Investment Trusts

In this guide to investment trusts, produced in association with Aberdeen Asset Management, we spoke to many of the leading experts in the field to find out more.

Watch Now

More about this:

More from us

What others are saying


Today's articles

Tools from Citywire Money

From the Forums

+ Start a new discussion

Weekly email from The Lolly

Get simple, easy ways to make more from your money. Just enter your email address below

An error occured while subscribing your email. Please try again later.

Thank you for registering for your weekly newsletter from The Lolly.

Keep an eye out for us in your inbox, and please add to your safe senders list so we don't get junked.


Charles Stanley drops Woodford from fund buy list

by Daniel Grote on May 22, 2018 at 10:57

Sorry, this link is not
quite ready yet