UBS slammed a Financial Times journalist for 'embarrassing reporting' and 'agenda journalism' after a minor mistake
- Swiss banking giant UBS publicly scolded a Financial Times journalist over a mistake in an earnings story on Tuesday.
- UBS accused European banking reporter Stephen Morris of "embarrassing reporting" and "agenda journalism" after he wrote that results in the investment banking division fell short of Wall Street's estimates, when they actually beat them.
- Previously, UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti personally called out Germany's Manager Magazin for false reporting in January.
Swiss banking giant UBS may hail from a country that avoids conflict, but it wasn't shy about publicly scolding a Financial Times journalist over a mistake in an earnings story on Tuesday.
"Embarrassing reporting from @sjhmorris at the FT," UBS tweeted to its 426,000 followers. "First he reports the wrong consensus number for the IB. Upon realizing the significant consensus beat, seeing positive reactions from analysts & strong comparison to US peers, his basic story.... doesn't change. Agenda journalism?"
The reprimand was targeted at Stephen Morris, a European banking reporter at the FT, after he wrote a story about the bank's second-quarter earnings. Morris incorrectly reported that profits at UBS' investment bank fell short of analysts' estimates, when they actually beat them. (Business Insider couldn't track down a copy of the original text before it was changed.)
Although FT headlines have the power to move stock prices, in the grander scheme of things the mistake seems relatively minor, given it concerned profits in one division and the FT corrected the story quickly. The paper added a line at the bottom stating: "This article has been updated to clarify that UBS' investment bank beat analysts' expectations."
It appears UBS was disappointed the FT story didn't put a more positive spin on a mixed set of results. Adjusted pre-tax profits slumped 12% in the flagship wealth-management division, and 23% in the investment bank. However, they rose by 10% in the asset-management business and 11% in the retail-banking segment, pushing total net profits up 1%. Investors cheered the results, sending UBS shares up 2.5% to 12.10 Swiss francs ($12.31).
Michael Steen, head of media relations at the European Central Bank, tweeted that the UBS attack was "not a good look for criticism."
UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti has personally called out media publications in the past. "There is no truth to this @manager_magazin story from today," he tweeted in January. "This is a desperate and unacceptable approach to create headlines."