Credit Suisse could face disciplinary action, Swiss regulator says
Adds FINMA CEO comments
ZURICH, March 26 (Reuters) -Swiss financial regulator FINMA said it was considering whether to take disciplinary action against Credit Suisse CSGN.S managers after Switzerland's second largest bank had to be rescued last week by UBS UBSG.S.
FINMA President Marlene Amstad told Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag it was "still open" whether new proceedings would be started, but the regulator's main focus was on "the transitional phase of integration" and "preserving financial stability".
UBS agreed to buy Credit Suisse for 3 billion Swiss francs ($3.26 billion) in stock a week ago and to assume up to 5 billion francs in losses in a merger engineered by Swiss authorities during a period of market turmoil in global banking.
Credit Suisse on Sunday declined to comment on the FINMA President's comments when asked by Reuters for a response.
Asked whether FINMA is looking into holding current Credit Suisse managers accountable for the collapse of Switzerland's second-largest bank, Amstad said it is "exploring the options".
"CS had a cultural problem that translated into a lack of responsibilities," Amstad was quoted as saying by NZZ, adding: "Numerous mistakes were made over several years".
FINMA had conducted six public "enforcement proceedings" against Credit Suisse in recent years, Amstad said.
"We have intervened and used our strongest instruments," she said of its previous moves.
Amstad also defended Switzerland's decision to write down 16 billion Swiss francs of Credit Suisse Additional Tier 1 (AT1) debt, to zero as part of the forced rescue merger.
"The AT1 instruments contractually provide that they will be fully written off in the event of a trigger event, in particular the granting of extraordinary government support," Amstad said.
"The bonds were created precisely for such situations."
In a separate interview with Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung, FINMA's CEO Urban Angehrn defended its role in dealing with Credit Suisse prior to the takeover.
"We intervened consistently in these cases, used our instruments, and they had an effect," he said. "We do not run the bank, that responsibility lies with the board of directors and the management of the bank."
Angehrn also said there are open discussions about widening FINMA's competencies, such as its ability to issue fines, which despite having "sharp instruments" it currently does not have.
"We do not have a "senior managers regime", which could help with the issue of manager responsibility, and FINMA is limited in communicating cases."
($1 = 0.9199 Swiss francs)
Reporting by Noele Illien; Editing by Alexander Smith
Disclaimer: The XM Group entities provide execution-only service and access to our Online Trading Facility, permitting a person to view and/or use the content available on or via the website, is not intended to change or expand on this, nor does it change or expand on this. Such access and use are always subject to: (i) Terms and Conditions; (ii) Risk Warnings; and (iii) Full Disclaimer. Such content is therefore provided as no more than general information. Particularly, please be aware that the contents of our Online Trading Facility are neither a solicitation, nor an offer to enter any transactions on the financial markets. Trading on any financial market involves a significant level of risk to your capital.
All material published on our Online Trading Facility is intended for educational/informational purposes only, and does not contain – nor should it be considered as containing – financial, investment tax or trading advice and recommendations; or a record of our trading prices; or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instruments; or unsolicited financial promotions to you.
Any third-party content, as well as content prepared by XM, such as: opinions, news, research, analyses, prices and other information or links to third-party sites contained on this website are provided on an “as-is” basis, as general market commentary, and do not constitute investment advice. To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, you must note and accept that the content was not intended to and has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such, it would be considered as marketing communication under the relevant laws and regulations. Please ensure that you have read and understood our Notification on Non-Independent Investment. Research and Risk Warning concerning the foregoing information, which can be accessed here.