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FINMA Financial regulator to inform those on ‘watch list’

Data held on the watch list that does not meet new standards will be erased


Following a recent court ruling, the Swiss financial regulator FINMA will be obliged to inform all those who figure on its ”watch list” for suspected improper conduct. 

The existence of the FINMA watch list was revealed during a Federal Court hearing concerning a former executive of the Swiss bank UBS. Suspecting that he could be on the list after UBS was fined for manipulating Libor benchmark interest rates in 2012, the former executive went through the courts to gain access to his file with FINMA. 

He also won the case to get his information removed from the watch list as the courts felt it did not meet minimum standards and could impact the private life of the plaintiff. Judges criticised the quality of the data in the watch list, calling for inclusion of information from only “serious” and “rigorous” sources and not from emails, rumours or suspicion. 

Based on this judgment, FINMA will revise it practices as of September 15. The new ordinance on market supervision will specify what kind of information can be retained on a person’s file. 

FINMA will also be required to inform those on the watch list. Currently, apart from basic details like name and date of birth, information such as financial situation, debts, bankruptcy, criminal records are held. Existing files that no longer meet requirements of new data standards will be removed.  

“The purpose of this file is to ensure that authorised firms entrust their administration and management to only those who can guarantee irreproachable financial conduct,” a FINMA spokesperson told the Swiss News Agency. The goal is to also prevent repetition of bad behaviour at a different firm, he added. and agencies/a.c

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