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Merz urges bank salary reform

Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz has said salary and bonus regulations should accompany the government's rescue of UBS, Switzerland's largest bank.

"There are things happening that are unacceptable," he said in an interview with Saturday's Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper. "The basic idea of the bonus has been partially perverted."

"Banks must accept that the state will intervene," he said.

"Where bonuses are clearly unfair on the grounds of mismanagement, then the banks have to take action," Merz said. "The appropriate persons are urged to undertake repayments."

UBS would also need to define a new and comprehensive compensation policy, Merz said, but rejected calls for a wage ceiling.

"If we would institute a wage policy for banks, it would be an extraordinary government intervention," he said.

Regarding German and French pressure on the country's banking secrecy laws, the finance minister reiterated the government's position that Switzerland was not a tax haven.

He noted differences of opinion within European Union member states and said Switzerland would wait patiently for common ground on the issue.


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