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National Bank has no plans for stock buyback

Swiss National Bank looks to future Keystone

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has no plans to buy back its publicly traded stock as part of revisions to the central bank law making their way through the political process, an SNB spokesman said on Friday.

The banks registered shares have risen nearly a third this year, helped by speculation over the past week that the SNB could make a generous buyback offer to the nearly 3,000 private investors who own SNB stock.

“There are no concrete projects underway to do something like a de-listing,” the spokesman added.

The law at present clearly reflects the legislature’s desire for the SNB to have private shareholders, even if this is not explicitly spelled out, so any move to de-list shares would have to come as part of the revisions now underway, he added.

The Federal Department of Finance is at present consulting with various bodies, including the SNB, on revisions to the National Bank Law. Revamping the bank’s status could last two or three years.

In a public comment on the draft bill, the SNB made clear that it favours maintaining its status as a joint stock company. Swiss cantons and cantonal banks now own a majority of the SNB’s shares and voting rights.

Up till now the SNB has always favoured having private shareholders as a way of ensuring its independence from political pressures.

The SNB also welcomed in its statement proposed revisions to the law that would make price stability its primary goal.

The SNB is one of a handful of central banks with publicly listed shares around the world, the Belgian and the Greek national banks being the others.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR