The central aspects of a dedicated team set up by the Swiss Financial Supervisory Autorithy, FINMA, to supervise the new UBS bank will focus on capital, liquidity, risk management, conduct of regulators, and the integration with Credit Suisse, a spokesperson for the regulator told IPE.
The team is supported by experts with functions spanning across divisions outside of the team, such as governance and money laundering supervision, among other things, the spokesperson added.
The team of around 20 people will broadly look at all supervisory matters across UBS, FINMA said.
UBS expects to close the merger with Credit Suisse next year, becoming an even larger bank, one of the main asset manager in Europe, and concentrating in one entity a large amount of asset management and global custody services for Swiss pension funds.
“We need a bigger focus on the merged bank. We have reorganised the teams and are deploying more than 20 employees directly to supervise UBS. Indirectly, in specialist departments, at least 20 people are heavily involved with UBS,” Marlene Amstad, chair of FINMA’s board of directors said in an interview with Neue Zürcher Zeitung last week.
The chair of the board added in the interview that the regulator is currently examining to add further specialists to the team.
FINMA has already cut the number of mandates with audit companies to use funds for on-site inspections and assess relevant risks, she added.
Amstad admitted that FINMA has found intel in an extraordinary situation, when in March Swiss authorities intervened to orchestrate the emergency takeover of Credit Suisse by UBS. However, she rejected the accusation that her leadership style has led to the departure of the regulator’s chief executive officer, Urban Angehrn.
“As a board of directors, we operate very much as a committee. I make sure that all the information I have is available to the entire committee, and decisions are made by the entire board of directors at the request of the management,” she said.
FINMA was under fire during the unsettling days of the emergency takeover of Credit Suisse by UBS particularly for its decision to write down Credit Suisse’s AT1 bonds, a decision that resulted in losses for bondholders of around CHF16bn, and triggered legal action also from institutional investors and asset managers.
“Even before this time, the workload at FINMA increased significantly. This is especially true for the director. The high and long-term exposure [in the case of Credit Suisse/UBS] had consequences Urban Angehrn’s health. He made a rational decision and resigned. We on the board of directors and the management very much regret this step,” she added.
FINMA has appointed deputy CEO, Birgit Rutishauser, as interim CEO from October.
The process to find a new CEO has started, and the next director must not only be resilient, but also bring a hands-on mentality, the chair said.