Saturday, 29 December 2012

UBS-Managed Council Pension Fund Loses £10 Million In Seven Years

In March 2009 Katherine Barney of the Evening Standard reported that "Havering Council which may have lost £12.5million of tax payers' money in the Icelandic banking crisis is accused of negligence in a damning government report published today. Havering council, which has six members of staff earning more than £100,000, is among seven local authorities heavily criticised by the Audit Commission for depositing money in the banks after their credit rating had fallen."

Council Leader Michael White
 In December 2012 reporter Ian Weinfass of the Romford Recorder reports yet more concern about Havering Council. Yet again the culture of Conservative-dominated Havering Council is called into serious question with the revelation by the paper (Page 3, 28/12/12) that a council pension fund managed by UBS has lost £10m in seven years. The paper states "The (UBS) fund ... has seen £33m invested in it since 2005, but in November 2012 its values was just £23m".  Havering Council has thus frittered away £22.5m of tax payers money in only three years, and that it is only the money we actually know about,  it doesn't include council contracts or property development consultancy. Havering Council Leader Michael White, pictured left, seems unshaken by these events - with council elections due in 2014 the people of Havering will have a chance to give a verdict on Mr White and his colleagues. 

Opposition Leader Clarence Barratt
Council opposition leader Clarence Barratt, Residents Association, said in the Recorder  "at least with the £12.5m (council loss) deposited in Icelandic Banks there was an element of surprise, but this investment has deteriorated over a number of years".  Mr Barratt added "We shall be asking for a review of the investment strategy and also of the advice given to make sure we are not throwing good money after bad".

The "strangeness" of UBS is not news,  the company has been at the centre of several major city scandals in recent times.  UBS had to pay a record-breaking fine of $1.5bn for manipulating the LIBOR rate, the Financial Times ( 20/12/12) reports that "Record UBS fine unlikely to be the end ... Tom Hayes the former UBS trader made at least $260m in three years .. some reaped by the manipulating the yen-dominated LIBOR." The findings were released by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, see online article below

UBS was accused of "breath-taking hypocrisy" by the UK Financial Services Authority reports (12/12/11) see online article below

UBS trader Kweku Adoboli was prosecuted for $2.3bn in unauthorised trading losses and UBS cut 500 jobs as a result said UBS Chief Financial Offcer Tom Naratil on a video-link from New York transmitted to Adoboli's criminal trial in London.  see articles below

The silence of Romford MP Andrew Rosindell, Upminster MP Angela Watkinson and Council Leader Michael White over the lost council funds described above and other long-standing concerns about council contracts and development consultancy is deafening.  It was not long ago that Havering Council Leader Michael White worked for PITO (Police Information Technology Organisation) and this closeness to the police must the source of his apparent confidence - the facts however seem to suggest that Mr White should be explaining himself and his council cabinet in some detail.  Mr White is not the only Havering Councillor to develop close contact with the police, Councillor Peter Gardner also seems to relish police work - I wonder why such a specific closeness to one area of local government concern is necessary ?

Councillor Roger Ramsey 
Current council finance chief Roger Ramsey is reported in the Romford Recorder as saying ".... This (loss) has been offset by £6m in rental income from the manager, which owns office and retail units across the country".  If only the city giant UBS, its "rocket scientists" and billions of the best computing technology could cover their losses as easily.  Do you think there is more to it Mr Ramsey ? You are a lawyer after all.

Do you have complete confidence in Havering Council ? No ? Then why not cast your vote in the 2014 council elections to the best chance non-conservative candidate in every council ward and remove as many Conservatives as we can.  If we win we can invite a team of professionals to conduct a root-and-branch investigation of council finances over the past thirty years right back to Margaret Thatcher's first election win.

see Romford Recorder article at

Read more about Havering council including reports of a failed dirty tricks campaign involving firearms, youth offenders and drugs to close Havering College of Further Education


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