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Swiss politicians want to prevent another ‘too big too fail’ bank

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 13 June 2023
At the same moment UBS announced it had completed its shotgun merger of Credit Suisse, Swiss representatives introduced motions to prevent another state-backed rescue from happening.
Swiss politicians want to prevent another ‘too big too fail’ bank
Finance Minister Karin Keller-Sutter speaks at the extraordinary session of the federal parliament. The April session was convened to debate the Federal Council’s move to save Credit Suisse (Keystone SDA).

(Keystone SDA) The Council of States is still resisting processing the emergency takeover of Credit Suisse by UBS. On Tuesday – the day UBS announced the merger was complete – the Council of States dispensed seven motions and one postulate on the subject for preliminary examination.

With 31 votes to five, and eight abstentions, Parliament’s lower house accepted a regulatory motion from Zurich FDP Council of States member Ruedi Noser. The Council also wants to allow bonus payments to bank employees if a financial institution makes a profit, but limit it to 15%.

Motions made by Thomas Minder (independent), Jakob Stark (SVP) and Carlo Sommaruga (SP) also touched on variable salary components.

Sommaruga would like to completely ban bonuses for board members and managers of systemically important banks. Stark proposed an upper limit for bonuses of three to five million Swiss francs. Minder demanded that the variable salary components for the board members and the special risk managers of systemically important banks may not be more than twice their respective fixed salaries in the future.

Swiss politicians want to prevent another ‘too big too fail’ bank
A man wears a suit with “Liquidate Criminal Suisse + Banksters Assets” during the annual shareholders’ meeting of Credit Suisse Tuesday (Keystone SDA).
Review of the “too big to fail” regulations

Further demands for banking regulations were also introduced to the Commission. Marco Chiesa (SVP) is demanding a proposal from the Federal Council so that in future no Swiss bank is considered “too big to fail.” Chiesa would also like to stipulate, that in future, half of the board members of systemically important companies must be Swiss nationals and live in Switzerland.

The motions call for a new template to be made up for the “too big to fail” regulations from the Federal Council. They are demanding a lasting solution to the problem without making substantive specifications for the state government.

A postulate by Heidi Z’graggen was also sent to the commission on Tuesday. The Uri Central Councilor is asking the Federal Council to present a report on whether stricter legal rules are needed for auditing companies that check the books of “too big to fail” banks.

Swiss politicians want to prevent another ‘too big too fail’ bank
An activist symbolically cleans the entrance of Credit Suisse at Paradeplatz in Zurich (Keystone SDA).
Waiting on the report

In any case, the Federal Council will have to present a proposal for state liquidity protection for systemically important banks in the fall, Noser said. The Commission will then have the opportunity to debate the proposal.

Minder unsuccessfully defended himself against the order. During his time in the Council of States, he said he had never experienced so many initiatives assigned to the commission.

Certain politicians are not interested in solving the “too big to fail” problem in the long term. But time is pressing. After the emergency takeover, UBS was too big to be rescued by the state.

Eva Herzog (SP) also contradicted Noser’s statement that the assignment to the Commission meant an acceleration. Like Sommaruga, she suggested that all advances could also be referred to the Federal Council as a signal.

This article was reprinted with permission from Keystone SDA.

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