UBS staff dress to impress Swiss retail clients

Dress code covers makeup and underwear
||Last Updated: 02/01/2011

(Reuters) – Swiss bank UBS is aiming to polish its tarnished image with a new dress code, as it seeks to regain the faith of retail clients after posting the biggest loss in Swiss corporate history during the financial crisis.

A 52-page internal document advises customer-facing staff in five pilot scheme branches on how to make a good impression with customers by choosing flesh-coloured underwear and stockings, and avoiding smelly foods and tobacco.

The dress code, being tested for possible rollout to about 1,500 staff in all 300 Swiss branches, tells female employees that wearing makeup gives the impression of competence and warns of the dangers of wearing too-tight underwear and shoes.

The drive to smarten up staff is part of a wider campaign to improve the Swiss public's perception of the country's top bank, bailed out by the government after writing down more than 50 billion Swiss francs ($51.67 billion) of toxic assets.

The new dress code was originally written as a guide for those people attending corporate events who intermittently worked for the bank, said UBS spokesman Jean-Raphael Fontannaz.

"They are meant as recommendations and not as hard and fast rules," said Fontannaz. "It remains to be decided whether the guidelines will be extended to all 300 Swiss branches, depending on how they are received by staff in the five pilot branches."