The UBS is a financial services firm with its head office in Basel and Zurich, Switzerland. The institution is a prominent bank in Europe, and its primary operations are involve asset management, private banking and investment banking.
The financial services giant’s tentacles spreads into over fifty countries such as the United States, where it has a main office in Manhattan. The entity’s total assets under management run into billions with a market capitalization that also stretches into the same region.
UBS is organized into five major divisions which include wealth management and Swiss bank, wealth management USA, Investment bank, Global asset management and the Corporate center.
However, the subprime crisis did render an adverse impact on UBS cash flows, as it recorded a loss in 2008, recapitalization was instituted thereafter. UBS shares strong links with Tate Modern, proprietor of a huge collection of contemporary art, bearing proof of the bank’s strong interest in the artistic domain.
On the 1st of July 1998, the Union Bank of Switzerland and Swiss Bank Corporation officially entered into a merger. Various acquisitions followed and they include the U.S. Paine Webber Group, (November, 3, 2000), and Pactual of Brazil (May 9, 2006).
Issues of banking privacy came to the fore when UBS found themselves in the middle of a lawsuit storm initiated by the United States goverment, following the institution apparently defied requests to disclose the names of 52 000 customers in the U.S. The dispute was later resolved amicably between the bank and the Internal Revenue Service.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), once threatened publish a list of fifty-two thousand United States clients of UBS suspected of scamming the taxman. Between 2001 and 2007 the Department of Justice looked into a cross-border business and uncovered huge sums of money hidden in banks abroad in order to evade taxes.
The investigation ascertained that UBS was involved in such business, and some of the money had been stashed away in Switzerland. A country whose statute law permits this practice, the Swiss law deems tax evasion is a misdemeanor, hence the law hinders any international legal assistance thereto.
On February 18, 2009, a U.S. court condemned UBS and fined it 780 million dollars, and threatened to take away its U.S license. The case then became an administrative dispute between the two countries, with Swiss laws on banking confidentiality forbidding the financial institution from revealing the names of its clients. But Switzerland eventually agreed in August 2009 to cooperate with the IRS.