Swiss banks Credit Suisse and UBS have launched the Swiss Finance Council in Brussels in a bid to “become more actively engaged” in European policy matters.This content was published on November 28, 2013 - 09:33
The organisation will represent the interests of internationally active Swiss financial institutions and provide a platform to share experience, expertise and knowledge through a permanent representative office in Brussels, according to a press release on Thursday.
It would support the work of the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) in EU-related matters.
The Swiss Finance Council is led by a board, comprising its chairman, Alexis Lautenberg, and the chairmen of the two founding members, Urs Rohner from Credit Suisse and Axel Weber from UBS.
“By establishing a representative office now, a solid network can be developed so that we are ready to engage in discussions around key policy issues in light of the changes in the EU institutions following next year’s European parliamentary elections,” said Lautenberg.
The Swiss Finance Council said it intended to reach out to relevant stakeholders in the European financial policy debate and establish working relations with them. It will also assess the current policy-making framework and develop joint positions on key dossiers on behalf of its members.
Policy positions will be consolidated and developed in the upcoming weeks and months as the team in Brussels is established.
It will focus on issues of relevance to international financial institutions, including the Markets in Financial Instrument Directive (MiFID II), European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR), banking union, key developments in taxation policies, structural reforms and the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive.
The council said the work of the Swiss Finance Council would complement and reinforce the work of the SBA. Credit Suisse and UBS will remain active members of the SBA and have kept the association up to date regarding the establishment of the council.
“Regulatory issues are very important and are getting more so, and this is probably just one attempt to try to deal with the situation,” Zurich Cantonal Bank analyst Andreas Venditti told swissinfo.ch.
“Not only on a Swiss level – obviously [the Swiss Financial Council] are lobbyists from within the Swiss financial sector, but I think this [plan] is to also have a greater say on a European basis.”
Venditti highlighted the differences in interests between Switzerland’s two largest banks and other Swiss financial institutions regarding the European Union.
“UBS and Credit Suisse are present in many EU countries, so the issues are somewhat different from the issues of other Swiss banks which don’t have any presence in Europe,” he said.
“They also mentioned the SBA, which obviously represents all Swiss banks. But the council has said it will talk to the SBA on important issues because clearly they have to work together on some things.”
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