UBS provides sartorial advice to Swiss staff

Forget WikiLeaks. Today’s bombshell is an internal presentation by banking giant UBS that provides advice to some of its front-office employees in Switzerland on how to dress and groom themselves for success.

Initially posted on a Swiss blog and picked up by French daily Le Figaro, the 44-page document, which is in French, leaves no stone unturned and has created waves in the global banking community.

Citing clothing as “an essential vector of non-verbal communication”, the presentation goes into a level of detail so far unseen in the world of finance.

Skirts “must be worn at knee length” but can alternatively reach “up to five centimetres below the knee, as measured from the centre of the knee”. Jackets may be removed in the event of warm weather but “only upon instructions of senior staff”.

Step-by-step charts are also provided to assist employees with tying their neckties, the added commentary banishing any “boy scout” style for scarfs that must be worn by female staff, whenever possible with a “front-facing knot pointing to the left”.

Footwear is not forgotten. Wearing new shoes may make UBS bankers feel “ill at ease and affect their attention to clients’ requirements”, although “party feet silicone soles can assist when walking on hard surfaces”. Shoes must also be of an adequate size to avoid “strained smiles in client meetings”. Wearing micro-fibre underwear is also best “to prevent wrinkles”.

Each employee should also ask him- or herself these daily essential questions: Is their haircut suitable for their age? How long must they spend each morning doing their hair? How is the volume and quality of their hair? Is it untidy? Does it match the shape of their face? All key issues in today’s fast-changing world.

Perfume should preferably be “applied after a hot shower”, as is a moisturizer “with a neutral smell to avoid clashing fragrances”. A handy tip: use cosmetics from the same product line. And one should not forget one’s breath – garlic, onion or cigarette smells are a no-no.

Always practical, the presentation even includes a one-page check-list for those that are pressed with time.

These days it seems, UBS will stop at nothing to grow those all-important net new money ratios.