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News 2008

 
19 December 2008

Update: Frequently Asked Questions regarding Structured Products
The SFBC updates the list with frequently asked questions regarding structured products according to art. 5 Capital Investment Schemes Act (CISA) and art. 4 Capital Investment Schemes Ordinance (CISO) (cf. in particular the new questions/answers 2, 13, 14 and 15).

> FAQs (in German or in French)
 
 
18 December 2008

SFBC Bulletin 51
The SFBC published its latest bulletin on various decisions, including issues related to international cooperation, fit and proper activity, churning, illegal acceptance of public deposits as well as structured products.

> Bulletin 51
 
 
9 December 2008

FINMA ready for launch
The new Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) will commence operations on 1 January 2009. On that date, the Federal Act on the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMASA), which the Swiss Parliament approved on 22 June 2007, will go into full legal force. The effect of the Act is to merge three bodies – the Federal Office of Private Insurance (FOPI), the Swiss Federal Banking Commission (SFBC) and the Anti-Money Laundering Control Authority – into the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA. Until their merger and incorporation into FINMA, these three authorities will retain responsibility for their own areas of activity.

> www.finma.ch
 
 
4 December 2008

SFBC and large banks agree to set higher capital adequacy targets and introduce a leverage ratio
The Swiss Federal Banking Commission (SFBC) has agreed with Credit Suisse and UBS to raise current capital adequacy requirements and introduce additional elements to the regime. The new capital adequacy ratios were defined and communicated by the SFBC to the two banks with a formal decree on 20 November 2008. They must be complied with by the year 2013 subject to the profits earned in future periods.

> Media release
 
 
26 November 2008

SFBC decides changes in the Circular on "Market Behaviour Rules for the Securities Market" (SFBC-Circ. 08/1)
In order to avoid further misunderstandings on how to apply the Circular on securities transactions on behalf of clients, the SFBC decided to clarify with an amendment, that in case of obvious indications that securities trading on behalf of clients is incompatible with the requirements stipulated in sections III to V, the securities dealers in question must clarify the commercial background of the transaction and, if necessary, abstain from executing the trade for the client; a systematic control of client transactions is not required.

The amendment will come into force on 1 December 2008.

> SFBC-Circ. 08/1 “Market Behaviour Rules for the Securities Market” (in German or in French)
 
 
10 November 2008
New Ordinance of the FINMA on Stock Exchanges and Securities Trading (SESTO-FINMA)
On 1 January 2009, the FINMA will put into effect the new FINMA-Stock Exchange Ordinance. Art. 48 SESTO-FINMA provides for a transitory deadline until the end of June 2009 regarding the obligation to notify shareholdings. This publication serves as preliminary information for the affected market participants. There may be some changes later in terms of language and wording. The FINMA will publish a commentary on the new SESTO-FINMA during the first quarter of 2009.
> SESTO-FINMA (in German or in French)
> Consultation
> Comments
> Concordance chart
 
 
16 October 2008
Subprime Crisis: SFBC Investigation into the Causes of the Write-downs of UBS
The Swiss Federal Banking Commission (SFBC) has investigated the causes of the significant write-downs incurred by UBS. The investigation confirms that the write-downs were mainly caused by organizational weaknesses as well as by an insufficient assessment of the relevant risks in combination with the exceptional market environment. The investigation encompassed only the period prior to August 2007. The bank has developed a comprehensive and detailed remediation plan to eliminate the weaknesses it identified, and this plan is being or has already been implemented. The SFBC supports these remedial actions in coordination with other supervisory authorities and is following the implementation process closely.
> Media release
> SFBC - UBS Subprime Report
 
 
16 October 2008
SFBC welcomes measures to strengthen Swiss Financial System
The Federal Council, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) and the Swiss Federal Banking Commission (SFBC) present a joint set of measures. The measures developed by the authorities will contribute substantially to the strengthening of the Swiss Financial System.
> Media release SFBC
> Media release FDF
> Media release SNB
 
 
9 October 2008

SFBC takes measures to protect investors of the Swiss Branch of Kaupthing Bank
The turbulences around the Icelandic Group Kaupthing have consequences on its branch, established in Switzerland last July. Due to the liquidity constraints of the whole group, as well as subsequently of its Geneva branch, the SFBC has appointed two Commissioners. It will be their task, to establish transparency about the financial situation of the branch and to safeguard its assets. In the meantime, the bank (branch) has been ordered to refrain from executing any further payments. Exempt from this order are claims below CHF 5'000. Claims up to CHF 30'000 are covered by the Deposit Insurance Scheme of Swiss Banks. The Commissioners shall - together with the Deposit Insurance Association - aim at a speedy payment of such insured deposits.

On the Website of the Commissioners (www.kaupthing-geneva.ch) you will find more information.

 
 
19 September 2008
SFBC emphasizes that naked short sales are not permitted
Considering the current financial environment, the Swiss Federal Banking Commission (SFBC) points out that naked short sales are not permitted and are not compatible with the requirements of the SFBC-Code of Conduct for Securities Markets, in particular when used to distort or manipulate the market. Such naked short sales on behalf of Nostro and of clients are forbidden. Banks must make sure that when selling securities for clients they are able to deliver the securities on settlement date. The SFBC will prosecute any abusive behaviours.

The Swiss Federal Banking Commission also informs market participants that spreading misleading rumours and incorrect information is abusive and will in no way be tolerated. The SFBC will prosecute this kind of behaviour with all financial market enforcement means at its disposal. Considering the current financial environment, the SFBC reminds all market participants to rigorously comply with the supervisory regulation in particular with the Code of Conduct for Securities Markets.
 
 
16 September 2008
SFBC to open consultation process about the suppression of the so called „Swiss finish“ for collective investment schemes
The Swiss Federal Banking Commission (SFBC) opens the consultation process about the suppression of the so called “Swiss finish” for collective investment schemes. Besides the suppression of formal requirements it is in particular the renunciation of case based regulation regarding the name policy of collective investment schemes as well as the amendment of article 31 para. 4 CISCO in order to adapt it to the European minimal standard. The consultation process takes place with the approval of the Federal Finance Administration (FFA).
> Media release (in German or in French)
> Information about the consultation (in German or in French)
> Cover letter (in German)
> Report (in German or in French)
> Amendments to the Ordinance on Collective Investment Schemes (in German, in French or in Italian)
 
 
9 September 2008
Peter Eckert to resign from SFBC and FINMA board of directors by end of 2008
Peter Eckert is since 1 July 2007 member of the Swiss Federal Banking Commission (SFBC) and since January 2008 vice-president of the FINMA board of directors. He will leave the SFBC and the FINMA board of directors on 31 December 2008 in order to take over the presidency of the board of directors of the Bank Clariden Leu beginning of January 2009. The SFBC and the FINMA board of directors thank Mr. Eckert for his excellent work in both entities and wish him a lot of success in his new position. An election to replace Mr. Eckert in the FINMA board of directors will take place in a second time.
> Media release
 
 
5 September 2008
SFBC to open consultation process on the SFBC discussion paper "Incentive systems and conflicts of interest regarding the distribution of financial products"
The Swiss Federal Banking Commission (SFBC) opens a hearing with respect to the incentive systems and conflicts of interest regarding the distribution of financial products. The SFBC is proposing a greater transparency of distribution compensation for end clients.
> Media release (in German or French)
> Information about the consultation (in German or French)
> Discussion paper (in German, French and summary in English)
 
 
5 September 2008
SFBC to open consultation process on its draft Circular Guidelines on asset management
The guidelines are meant to serve as a reference for the codes of conduct of asset management professional associations that wish to have their codes recognized by the SFBC as a minimum standard.
> Media release (in German or French)
> Information about the consultation (in German or French)
> Report (in German or French)
> Draft circular "Guidelines on asset management" (in German or French)
 
 
27 August 2008
Federal Council approves FINMA personnel ordinance
At its meeting today, the Federal Council approved the personnel ordinance requested by the Board of Directors of the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) and the Federal Department of Finance (FDF). The personnel ordinance emphasizes a strong performance approach while maintaining a high degree of flexibility. It lays down principles applicable to the employment relationships of all FINMA’s staff.
> Media release
> FINMA personnel ordinance (in German, French or Italian)
 
 
25 July 2008
SFBC Newsletter no 47
Depositor Protection

The SFBC points out the treatment of specific types of deposits in the context of the depositor protection. A functioning protection scheme requires systems and processes enabling the immediate identification and quantification of the privileged claims. The SFBC expects from the auditors to pay particular attention to the audit of the systems.
> SFBC Newsletter no 47 (in German, French or Italian)
 
 
21 July 2008
SFBC to open consultation process on the amendments of article 3a of the Banking Ordinance (deposits with cooperatives, associations and foundations)
With the proposed amendments, the current exception rules for the deposits paid to cooperatives, associations and foundations would be restricted to cases where the deposits have a mandatory connection to the organisation's non-commercial purpose or mutual self-help objective. The consultation takes place in arrangement with the Federal Finance Administration.
> Media release
> Information about the consultation (in German or French)
> Cover letter (in German)
> Amendments to the Banking Ordinance (in German or French)
> Report (in German and summary in English)
 
 
30 June 2008
New members of the Takeover Board
The SFBC has elected Dr Susanne Haury von Siebenthal and Prof. Dr Regina Kiener as new members of the Takeover Board (TOB).
> Media release
 
 
20 June 2008
SFBC to open consultation procedure on projects of Stock Exchange Ordinance-FINMA and of Takeover Ordinance
In view of the reorganization of the authorities per 1 January 2009 pursuant to the new Federal Act on the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMSA), the current Ordinance on Stock Exchanges of the SFBC (SESTO-FBC) and the Ordinance of the Takeover Board on Public Takeover Offers (O-TB) need to be adapted to the new amendments. The SFBC and the Takeover Board have therefore revised their ordinances in close collaboration and submit for consultation the projects of the new Ordinance on Stock Exchanges of the FINMA (SESTO-FINMA) and the new Ordinance of the Takeover Board on Public Takeover Offers (TOO) to the interested circles and concerned authorities.
> Cover letter (in German or French)
> Draft of SESTO-FINMA (in German or French)
> Comments on draft of SESTO-FINMA (in German or French)
> Draft of (new) Takeover Ordinance (TOO) (in German or French)
 
 
2 June 2008
Takeover Chamber of the SFBC denies the existence of an organized group between Sulzer and Renova/Everest with regard to the obligation to present a tender offer
In its recommendation dated 6 December 2007, the Swiss Takeover Board (TOB) especially stated that Sulzer AG, as a result of the conclusion of the Stand Still Agreement dated 10 October 2007, is together with Everest Beteiligungs GmbH and Renova Industries Ltd. a member of an organized group according to art. 32 para. 1 SESTA in relation with art. 27 SESTO-FBC. The parties challenged the recommendation. In its decision dated 29 Mai 2008, the Takeover Chamber of the SFBC ruled in favor of the challenging parties and denied the existence of such a group.
> Decision dated 29 Mai 2008 (in German)
 
 
29 May 2008
SFBC has amended the Circular on public deposits for non banks
Following the amendment to the Banking Ordinance concerning forex dealers, the SFBC has adapted the Circular on the acceptance on professional basis of deposits from public by non-banks (SFBC Circular 96/4). Furthermore, the SFBC has taken this opportunity to specify the definition of precious metal dealer.
> SFBC Circular 96/4 "Public deposits for non-banks" (in German or French)
 
 
21 May 2008
FINMA: Executive Board appointed, additional election to the Board of Directors
The Swiss Federal Council today approved the appointment of Patrick Raaflaub as Director of FINMA at the request of the Board of Directors. This completes the appointments to FINMA’s Executive Board, which will begin operating on 1 January 2009. Until FINMA’s launch date, all operational supervisory functions will remain with the three authorities that are being merged.
> Media release
> CVs
 
 
25 April 2008
Walter Knabenhans elected vice-chairman of the Takeover Board
The Swiss Federal Banking Commission (SFBC) has elected Walter Knabenhans as vice-chairman of the Takeover Board (TOB). He is member of the TOB since 1 January 1999. Walter Knabenhans is President of the Board of directors of Bellevue Group AG, Küsnacht. Walter Knabenhans has been elected for the current term of office until end of 2011.

The TOB was established under the Federal Act on Stock Exchanges and Securities Trading and monitors compliance with the provisions pertaining to public takeover offers. The TOB has currently seven members.
> Media release
 
 
16 April 2008

SFBC Newsletter no 46
FATF statement of 28 February 2008 concerning Uzbekistan, Iran, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, São Tomé and Principe and the northern part of Cyprus

The SFBC reminds the financial intermediaries under its supervision to take the Financial Action Task Force's statement of 28 February 2008 concerning the lack of comprehensive the AML/CFT systems in Uzbekistan, Iran, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, São Tomé and Principe and the northern part of Cyprus into account in their assessment of risk of money laundering and terrorist finance according to the Anti-Money Laundering Act and the SFBC Money Laundering Ordinance.

>

SFBC Newsletter no 46 (in German or French)

>

FATF statement of 28 February 2008

 
 
14 April 2008

SFBC publishes new Circular on "Market Behaviour Rules for the Securities Market" dated 19 March 2008 (SFBC-Circ. 08/1)
The Circular sets out rules on market behaviour, gives guidelines on how to avoid market abuse and defines accepted market practices. The rules are based on the requirement to conduct business in a fit and proper manner; they are part of the supervisory regulation, more specifically of the market supervision regulation. The new SFBC-Circ. 08/1 will come into force on 1 May 2008.

>

SFBC-Circ. 08/1 "Market Behaviour Rules for the Securities Market" (in German or French)

 
 
11 April 2008

Senior Supervisors Group: International Report on disclosure practices in connection with market turbulences
Senior financial supervisors from five countries (collectively the “Senior Supervisors Group”) today issued a report that reviews the disclosure practices of financial services firms concerning their exposures to certain financial instruments that the marketplace now considers to be high-risk.

This report – “Leading-Practice Disclosures for Selected Exposures” – provides examples of current leading practices in the reporting of information about exposures associated with such instruments as collateralized debt obligations, residential mortgage-backed securities, commercial mortgage-backed securities, other special purpose entities, and leveraged finance loans.

This work was undertaken in response to a request from the Financial Stability Forum.

>

Leading-Practice Disclosures for Selected Exposures

 
 
9 April 2008

SFBC survey on the audit of banks and securities dealers
The SFBC carried out a survey on the audit 2006 based on datas provided by the audit firms.

>

Analysis of the survey results (in German or French)

>

Chart 1 (g / f), Chart 2 (g / f), Chart 3 (g / f), Chart 4 (g / f), Chart 5 (g / f), Chart 6a (g / f), Chart 6b (g / f), Chart 7 (g / f), Chart 8 (g / f), Chart 9 (g / f), Chart 10 (g / f)

 
 
7 April 2008

Forex dealers - the amendment to the Banking Ordinance entered into force
The SFBC points out that the amendment to the Banking Ordinance concerning forex dealers entered into force on April 1st, 2008. Dealers who accept money from their clients to handle forex transactions are now governed by the Banking Law. They must register at the SFBC within three months. Within 1 year, they have to comply with the Banking Law requirements and file a banking license application.

>

News of the Federal Department of Finance (in German or French)

>

Amendment to the BO (in German or French)

>

Report (in German or French)

 
 
3 April 2008

Romain Marti is leaving the Swiss Federal Banking Commission (SFBC)
Romain Marti, Deputy Director, resigned for the end of September 2008 after more than thirty years with the Secretariat of the Swiss Federal Banking Commission (SFBC). As of the beginning of October, he will start a new professional activity as a consultant with Pictet & Cie in Geneva.

 
 
1 April 2008

Annual media conference of the SFBC
On 1 April 2008, the SFBC released its Annual Report 2007 and held a Media conference. The chapter on the key themes of the report is available in an English translation. The full report may be consulted in either German or French. Please find below the speeches given at the Media conference.

>

Media release (in German or French)

>

Speech by Eugen Haltiner, Chairman

>

Speech by Daniel Zuberbühler, CEO

>

Annual Report 2007 - Key themes

 
 
20 March 2008

SFBC Publishes its Report on SFBC-Commissioned Experts
The SFBC has been making increasing use of commissioned experts in its financial market enforcement, especially since the amendment of the legal provisions governing commissioned investigators came into force in mid-2004. The report on SFBC commissioned experts presents an overview of the experiences made with this new instrument.

>

Report on SFBC Commissioned Experts (in German or French)

>

Summary (in English)

 
 
18 March 2008

SFBC renounces definitively to regulate the performance fee
After the consultation process, the SFBC has decided to renounce definitively to regulate the performance fee. The practice in this matter applied to Swiss and Foreign Collective Investment Schemes is abrogated as of April 1st, 2008. The Appendix II “Performance fee” of the Guideline for the applications of Investment funds will therefore be suppressed and the other guidelines adapted. The applicable criteria for the performance fee are left to the market's participants. As required by CISA and the Guidelines of the Swiss Funds Industry, the licensees will have to indicate in the collective investment scheme’s documents the nature, the amount and the calculation of a potential performance fee.

 
 
10 March 2008

SFBC finds that Laxey Partners Ltd et alii infringed their duty to disclose
The Swiss Federal Banking Commission (SFBC) ruled on 7 March 2008 that Laxey Partners Ltd et alii (Laxey) infringed their disclosure obligations under Art. 20 of the Stock Exchange Act when building their stake in Implenia AG by using contracts for difference with underlying Implenia AG shares mainly during the first quarter of 2007. The SFBC will, as a result, file a criminal complaint with the Federal Department of Finance as required by law.

>

Release

 
 
6 March 2008

Senior Supervisors Group: international report on risk management
Senior financial supervisors from five countries today issued a joint report under the title “Observations on Risk Management Practices during the Recent Market Turbulence”. The report assesses a range of risk management practices among a sample of major global financial services organizations.

>

Release

>

Report

 
 
13 February 2008

Takeover Chamber of the SFBC has prolonged the tender offer procedure in the matter Implenia AG
Within the framework of the current tender offer of LIL Investments No. 4 Ltd, the Swiss Takeover Board (TOB) especially required in its recommendation dated 20 December 2007 that the offeree, Implenia AG, publishes an intermediary report by 18 January 2008 at the latest. Implenia AG challenged this point of the recommendation. On 12 February 2008, the Takeover Chamber of the SFBC mainly decided that Implenia AG must publish its non-audited 2007 end of year statement as an updated report of its finances by 16 February 2008 at the latest. The tender offer procedure is, as a result, prolonged until 29 February 2008.

>

Decision dated 12 February 2008 (in German)

 
 
31 January 2008

SFBC Circular 05/2 "audit reports" / Adaptation to statement of capital Basel II
With effect on 31 January 2008, the SFBC Circular 05/2 "Audit reports" has been adapted to the new statement of capital, which will be mandatorily applicable the first time on 31 March 2008. The adaptations solely concern the key figures system in Appendix 3 of the circular. At the same time, the English version of this circular as well as SFBC Circular 05/1 "audit" have undergone minor textual revision.

>

SFBC Circular 05/1 "audit"

>

SFBC Circular 05/2 "audit report"

 
 
29 January 2008

SFBC publishes report on bank insolvency
This report presents an overview of experience gathered to date by the SFBC with the new Swiss bank insolvency law that came into force on 1 July 2004. It also examines some issues which the SFBC believes are important with respect to international bank insolvencies.

>

Report on bank insolvency

 
 
28 January 2008

The SFBC adopts amendments to the SFBC Money Laundering Ordinance
The SFBC releases amendments to the SFBC Money Laundering Ordinance (MLO SFBC) adopted on December 20, 2007, aiming to implement the Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in the banking sector. The amendments to the SFBC Money Laundering Ordinance are scheduled to enter into force on July 1, 2008.

> Brief report (in German or French)
> Report of the SFBC of December 2007 (in German or French)
> Amendments to the MLO SFBC (in German or French)
 
 
10 January 2008

Takeover Chamber of the SFBC is reviewing the rejection of TOB-recommendation regarding Sulzer AG dated 6 December 2007
In its recommendation dated 6 December 2007, the Swiss Takeover Board (TOB) especially stated that Sulzer AG, as a result of the conclusion of the Stand Still Agreement dated 10 October 2007, is together with Everest Beteiligungs GmbH and Renova Industries Ltd. a member of an organized group according to art. 32 para. 1 SESTA in relation with art. 27 SESTO-FBC. The parties challenged the recommendation; the Takeover Chamber of the SFBC is reviewing the matter.

 
 
10 January 2008

Takeover Chamber of the SFBC is reviewing the partial rejection of TOB-recommendation III regarding Implenia AG
Within the framework of the current tender offer of LIL Investments No. 4 Ltd, the Swiss Takeover Board (TOB) especially required in its recommendation dated 20 December 2007 that the offeree, Implenia AG, publishes an intermediary report by 18 January 2008 at the latest. Implenia AG challenged this point of the recommendation. The Takeover Chamber of the SFBC is reviewing the matter; the tender offer procedure continues.

 
 
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