Wow, I hope they pay well at this bank. UBS has tried to downplay a new dress code widely reported in the international press, it offered detailed instructions to staff extending as far as the colour of their underwear and the care of nasal hair.
In an internal memo seen by Reuters, The Swiss bank said “inaccuracies and misunderstandings” had arisen as a result of press coverage, which included irreverent headlines such as “Dress Test” (FT Deutschland) and “No Sexiness in the City” (Daily Mail).
“The key element of the dress code is the requirement for staff to wear a dark suit, white shirt/blouse, red tie/scarf and black shoes. This requirement comes into effect for staff once … renovated branches reopen,” the UBS memo said.
The memo said the dress code was first created in 2009 for reception staff, event attendants and chauffeurs, but was being extended to customer-facing staff in Switzerland to help the bank present a consistent image.
The effort to smarten up staff is part of a wider campaign to improve the public image of the country’s top bank, bailed out by the government after writing down more than 50 billion Swiss francs ($52.2 billion) of toxic assets in the crisis.
In pilot branches UBS is also developing a corporate identity by looking to standardise layout and decor.
The drive to develop a consistent corporate image is widely seen as the brainchild of UBS Switzerland CEO Lukas Gaehwiler, lured in March from Credit Suisse by UBS supremo Oswald Gruebel, a former colleague.
“The dress code also contains a number of other general tips and hints,” added the memo.
These tips and hints run to 44 pages and include advice to avoid eating garlic and onion and a discussion on the benefits of well-trimmed toenails.
Other instructions include: “When you are in corporate wear you must never wear the blouse or shirt too tight: no part of your bosom must be visible, as this would look vulgar.”