Further to your editorial “UBS should follow its own advice on equality” (March 13) based on your report “UBS accused of gender bias after mothers lose bonuses” March 11): you won’t be surprised that we disagree with some of it. What is most disappointing to us is any sense that what the Financial Times says happened is intended standard practice in Switzerland or elsewhere. UBS has worked very hard as an organisation to become a better, more diverse and inclusive employer. Our number one priority in this space is to increase the number of women in leadership roles.
The strategy is straightforward. We need to hire more women. Lose fewer women through better retention. And promote more women. Being family-friendly is one key part of how we can do that. We take pay equity seriously and have for years. We have very clear policies and practices globally on adoption and parental leave that are far beyond legal requirements. As you point out, we pay six months’ leave at full salary in Switzerland, well above the time and rate that is the legal requirement in both Switzerland and the UK.
Do we get it right every time? No. But we are authentically committed to inclusivity. If we find gaps, we close them. After this issue was raised about a year ago, we looked at our controls and processes and improved them to make sure they were more robust. We improved the guidance we give our line managers. We made sure people’s bonuses were re-baselined after return. And we improved our monitoring to make sure the things we intend to happen do indeed happen.
Are we sorry that it seems that there were some instances in the past when guidelines were not followed? Absolutely. Was it a systemic or intended practice? Absolutely not. And we’ve asked our staff to tell us if they believe this happened to them, so that we can act if we find discrepancies.
There are two positive things we can take out of this, beyond the specific issues. First we have a culture where people can raise their hands and make their views known. And second we have a culture where we will do something about it.
The FT is building a reputation for leading on these issues, whether it’s toxic workplaces or sexism in the City. My hope would be that you recognise the difference between bad actors and those seriously committed to diversity and inclusion.
Carolanne Minashi -- Managing Director — Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, UBS