THE Swiss are famous for their precision, but only when The Capitalist got hold of UBS’s 43-page dress code for its branch staff did it become clear just how highly the bank values exactness.
The dress code has been doing the rounds for a few days now, but you might not have had a chance to leaf through the most important lines of this serious document.
If your shoes have a heel over 7cm in height, for example, forget it – it’s just not allowed. Nor are open toes, dull leather or colours other than black. And don’t forget: “Change your shoes once a day. With ‘fresh’ shoes, you will feel better and improve your performance at work.”
As for adding “personality” to your outfit with jewellery, here’s where you’re allowed to experiment! Within the colour scheme of the dress code, that is. As for wearing more than seven pieces of bling, it is strictly forbidden. (What is it with the number seven?)
So what is the philosophy behind this solemn instructional document (aside from that of an 19th century finishing school)? Well, it stems from a belief that “individuals are judged primarily on their appearance” and that the right outfit imparts “the concepts of truth, clarity… stewardship, responsibility and integrity, conscientiousness, reliability and consistency, and respect of the highest professional standards”.
The Capitalist is just waiting for the bank to roll it out across the investment banking division. Clarity and stewardship – surely that’d be a few hundred million in fees well spent?
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Many an executive has pondered the difficult question of how to stay in touch with the family while maintaining such a trying schedule.
Luckily, it seems the Intercontinental Hotels Group’s chief financial officer Richard Solomons has found the solution: install an app on your iPhone that tracks the whereabouts of your wife and kids.
OK, a little... unconventional, but, hey, how else are you going to defend your wife from stalkers?
With Portuguese government ministers pleading with the population not to hoard sugar in anticipation of a shortage, and Pakistan and Egypt also running low, Societe Generale’s Dylan Grice used his regular “Popular Delusions” research note to talk down the idea of investing in commodities. Specifically, he argues: “Commodities for the long run? Not on your Nellie – I’d rather eat coal!!”
You see, it’s just easier to avoid the heartbreak if you steer clear of ’em: “Prior commodity bull markets have been much like England football managers,” he writes. “They promised much, burned brightly for a while, but ultimately crashed, breaking the hearts of those who believed in them most.” Oh, Dylan. See, the rest of us just try not to take Fabio Capello too seriously.
Whoops! A rather hasty cut-away during last night’s Jeff Randall Live show on Sky gave a little glimpse of how business secretary Vince Cable gets through his busy days. Cable was shown gratefully accepting a paper cup of Costa coffee before the producers cut quickly back to their anchor. Sometimes you just need that extra caffeine injection before a live two-way, eh?