Thursday, 28 February 2008

Marcel Ospel and his supreme duty

Marcel Ospel, chairman of UBS, was given a rough ride yesterday at an emergency shareholders' meeting. The meeting was shown live on Swiss TV, and various characters from top fund managers to small investors called for the resignation of Mr Ospel. This was all because UBS has been Europe's biggest loser in the US subprime crisis. But Marcel stood firm. He said he was not resigning, and that it was his supreme duty to stay with the bank and help it overcome its current troubles. Well, I've got news for Marcel. As a capitalist and banker, it is actually his supreme duty to devote himself to Big Herb the money god. I'm afraid that comes before everything else. Sure, I admire his devotion to UBS - he's not a quitter - but this talk of supreme duty disturbs me.

It also disturbs David Pitt - chief priest in the cult of Big Herb. I spoke to him this morning, and he said, 'Is this guy on drugs? Big Herb is the lord of all money. Your supreme duty is to fall before him, on your knees, and worship him. If bankers like Mr Ospel forget that, well, we're all going to hell in a handcart, aren't we? This is the thin end of the fucking wedge, this is. What's going to happen now? Are we going to see bankers, traders, and analysts just pleasing themselves, eh? Saying - oh, Marcel reckons it's all right to do this or say that, fuck Big Herb and what he wants. Well, let me tell you, you don't fuck Big Herb. Big Herb fucks you. If he wants to, he can close your whole stinking life down. He can take away your bank accounts, cancel your credit cards, dispose of your shares, smash your Porsche up. There ain't nothing he can't do, or won't do. You pay him respect, or you're fucked.'

I then asked David what he would say to Mr Ospel if he met him. He told me, 'Simple. I'd just say - on your knees, boy! Offer yourself to Big Herb. Beg for forgiveness. Oh, you sinner. You terrible, terrible sinner - repent! Bring Big Herb into your life. That's what I would say, or something along those lines. But what I'm thinking of now is sending the boys round to have a word with him. No, fuck it. I'll send a team of ghosts in. That will scare him shitless. I did that once to some bloke at Barclays Capital. He wet himself. Really funny.'