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Banks oppose plan for pay restrictions

Switzerland's banks have said they fear new restrictions on executive pay and risk-taking will leave them at a disadvantage compared to their international peers.

This content was published on September 25, 2009 - 14:03

Finma, the country's financial regulator, proposed rules in June to force banks to link bonuses to long-term performance.

On Friday, the body published the banks' responses. The Swiss Bankers Association said it supported the general direction of the proposals but said they went too far in interfering with company policy and that small institutions would incur big administrative costs.

"We expect in particular that international developments and the rules of foreign financial centres will be closely watched and that the Swiss rules will be adjusted if necessary," it said in its written response to Finma.

"Every single position is analysed and taken seriously," Finma's director of communications, Alain Bichsel, told swissinfo.ch.

The Swiss regulator wants boards of directors to take more responsibility for remuneration and banks will have to disclose the remuneration structure for all employees, rather than just for top management as under current legislation.

Credit Suisse said the proposals could create serious competitive disadvantages for Swiss banks and urged Finma to coordinate with regulators in Britain, the European Union and the United States before they come into force.

"The proposal goes too far in many areas and can therefore lead to competitive distortions," the bank said.

Finma did not publish any comment from UBS, which is supposed to comply with the rules already this year after it was forced to accept a government bailout.

Finma said it would finalise the rules in early November, and that they would come into force on January 1, 2010.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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