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Urs Roth to head Swiss Bankers Association

Urs Roth was chosen to succeed Niklaus Blattner.

(Swiss Bankers Association)

The Swiss Bankers' Association (SBA) has named Urs Roth, currently head of legal affairs at Switzerland's largest bank UBS, as its new chief executive.

The 53-year old lawyer will replace Niklaus Blattner, who was recently elected to the board of the Swiss National Bank.

The decision to appoint Roth was made unanimously by the association's 19- member committee at a meeting in Bern on Monday.

Roth's appointment comes as something of a surprise after the Swiss press mooted Switzerland's ambassador to Germany, Thomas Borer, for the post.

The job, which comes with a salary of SFr500,000 ($276,000) a year, will involve steering the Swiss banking sector through the current international debate on banking secrecy.

When he takes up his job early next year, Roth will face growing pressure from foreign critics for Switzerland to water down its banking secrecy, which sceptics say is abused to help hide money from the taxman or criminal investigators.

Urs Roth joined UBS in 1976 and today works in Zurich as UBS Group General Counsel. As such he is responsible for advising UBS globally on legal and compliance issues.

For many years Roth has worked on various commissions and working groups of the Swiss Bankers' Association, and for six years was a member of the association's legal commission.

He chaired the working group that published the SBA's 'Code of Conduct for Security Dealers' and since 1997 he has chaired the SBA's steering committee on Switzerland and the Second World War.

SBA chiarman George Krayer said Roth's technical expertise, private-sector experience, knowledge of financial markets and close contact with banking and financial authorities at home and abroad made him an ideal choice for the job.

swissinfo with agencies


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