Switzerland is preparing a reform of the banking supervision system – Kommersant

Switzerland is preparing a reform of the banking supervision system – Kommersant


The Swiss government is preparing a reform that should change the system of supervision of banks in the country. As he writes Bloomberg, in the coming days the government is going to present its proposals, which relate to a variety of areas – from capital and liquidity requirements to corporate governance. The reason for the reforms was the serious problems that one of the largest Swiss banks, Credit Suisse, faced last year—as a result, its bought UBS. One of the goals of the new rules is to change the way Swiss banks assess risk. The reason for such changes is another situation last year, when the bank Julius Baer had to write off debts of $700 million after the bankruptcy of its largest client, the real estate company Signa.

The focus of the reform is strengthening the role of the financial regulator Finma. This week, Stefan Walter, who previously was a top manager of the European Central Bank and was responsible for the supervision of systemically important banks in the eurozone, became its new head. Many experts believe that bank supervision in Switzerland is still noticeably looser than in the rest of Europe or the United States. “I wouldn’t call the Swiss authorities completely powerless, but there are certainly some things that need to change. Finma definitely needs more resources to act on an equal footing with banks,” said Ivan Lengwiler, professor of economics at the University of Basel and head of the expert group that prepared the reform proposals.

In particular, until now Finma did not have the ability to fine banks – the new rules give the regulator such powers. In addition, now top managers of banks will be personally responsible for making certain decisions or inaction. The regulator will also be able to impose requirements on banks regarding the amount of bonuses to management and limit their size. The possibility of introducing more stringent capital and liquidity requirements is also being considered, although, as experts note, this item may cause more opposition from banks than other new rules. Particular attention will be paid to UBS, the largest bank in Switzerland. Finma has already increased the team working with the bank and has planned two stress tests for the current year.

Yana Rozhdestvenskaya


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