In an attempt to ensure it doesn’t inflame any cultural sensitivities, UBS is hiring Chinese-language reviewers, in a move seen by one rival as self-censorship, according to news reports.
The Swiss-based firm’s wealth management unit is seeking “content reviewers” who would help ensure that the “language, tone and content” of its Chinese-language reports is “appropriate and adheres to regulatory and internal guidelines,” according to the Financial Times, which cites a job listing posted by the unit in July.
“You will ensure that all our Chinese language publications are . . . free of any sensitivities,” UBS said in the listing, according to the publication.
The firm has already hired a reviewer in Hong Kong and is recruiting more people in Singapore, a person close to the hiring process said, according to the FT. The positions are part of the firm’s research editing team, the publication writes.
The move comes about three years after UBS drew criticism in China over perceptions of a racist slur in comments made by the firm’s global chief economist of wealth management, Paul Donovan, who referenced pigs in China in the midst of a swine fever outbreak, according to the FT.
In the aftermath, Hong Kong-based Chinese brokerage Haitong International Securities canceled its work with UBS, while the Securities Association of China, a self-regulator, instructed its members to avoid Donovan’s research and not invite him to events, the publication writes.
UBS suspended Donovan but reinstated him four months later after he issued an apology, saying he had “unwittingly used hugely culturally insensitive language,” according to the FT.
One executive at a rival global bank, whom the FT doesn’t identify, said the text-review initiative is indicative of “self-censorship,” according to the publication. His bank, the executive said, is only allowed to use “exact translations” in research reports in Chinese and English, according to the FT.
A person close to UBS denied the censorship accusations, saying it was “not a new concept,” as other banks hire the same type of reviewers “under a different name,” according to the publication.