Mark Branson to lead financial watchdog

The former UBS banker has been filling in as interim CEO since January 2014 Keystone

For the first time ever, a foreign national has been named to head the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). Mark Branson, a British citizen, has been interim CEO since the resignation of Patrick Raaflaub at the end of January.

This content was published on March 26, 2014 - 14:54 and agencies

The government confirmed the appointment on Wednesday.

Branson, who joined the board of FINMA in 2010 and later became deputy CEO, was previously a senior executive at Switzerland’s biggest bank, UBS.

In 2009 he testified in front of the United States Senate on behalf of the bank and apologised for the part it had played in assisting US tax evaders.

Between 2006-2008, Branson led UBS’s Japanese securities unit, which in 2012 was revealed to have been involved in rate manipulation as part of the Libor rate rigging scandal.

UBS had to pay a large fine for its part in trying to rig the rate – which affects trillions of loan contracts around the world - in a move to boost trading profits.

The revelation led to public criticism of Branson’s position at FINMA, both from politicians and in the media, but Raaflaub defended him, saying investigations showed Branson was not involved.

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