The investment banking industry has really taken a public relations beating over the past few years. It's sad really because I think a lot of the problem stems from a simple misunderstanding of what the investment banks are really all about.

Unfortunately, some of the big investment banks have done terrible jobs at trying to clear up this misconception. If you visit Goldman Sachs' (NYSE: GS) website right now, for instance, you'll see a big picture of a lift moving a cargo container, which, of course, is meant to suggest that Goldman is backing the revitalization of the global economy. Next to the picture is the phrase "Progress Is Everyone's Business," while underneath it is a link to videos about volunteer work.

Not very helpful, Goldman.

If we were to draw conclusions based on this snazzy page, we might be led to think that Goldman does something useful for entities not affiliated with Goldman. But we know better. A picture of Uncle Scrooge diving into a pool of money might be more fitting. Of course, if they don't want to pay Disney, they could alternately go with a picture of a banker having a good belly laugh after unloading a "crap deal" on some sucker.

But enough about Goldman
Being much more helpful in the push to help the public better understand what investment banks really stand for is UBS (NYSE: UBS). In 2010, UBS edged out Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) and Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS) to take the top spot among investment banks when it comes to employee compensation as a percentage of revenue. According to Reuters, a full 73% of UBS' revenue found its way to employee bank accounts.

But that's not even the best part. In UBS' investment banking unit, the company paid out 178% of revenue to employees. Wait a second and think about it. Now one more time: Compensation at UBS' investment banking unit was 178% of the unit's total revenue.

I think a golf clap is definitely in order for UBS and its innovative compensation scheme. Eat what you kill? Ha! This courageous bank has thrown the fetters of a do-right image right out the window and is letting the world know exactly what the investment banking industry is all about: Finding ways to make their employees filthy, disgustingly, deliciously rich. Forget "adding value," the economy, or pesky investors -- UBS knows where it's at and is not afraid to show it.

Goldman and many of the other big banks sure seem to have the greed thing down. Now if only they could learn a thing or two about public image from UBS.

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