The Board of Directors defines FINMA’s strategic goals and decides on matters of substantial importance. It also issues FINMA ordinances and circulars, exercises control over FINMA through the Internal Audit unit and is responsible for FINMA's budget. FINMA’s Board elects the Chief Executive Officer, whose appointment must be confirmed by the Federal Council. It also elects the other members of the Executive Board, with the Chief Executive Officer being granted the right to propose candidates for membership.
FINMA’s Board of Directors comprises seven to nine independent, expert members elected by the Federal Council. The Board of Directors assumes collective responsibility for its actions and decisions. Resolutions are passed by a majority vote of the Board members present.
Thomas Bauer assumed chairmanship of FINMA's Board of Directors on 1 January 2016. He also chairs FINMA's Nomination Committee. Before joining FINMA, he worked at Ernst & Young from 1994 to 2014, where he was mainly active in insolvency, banking, commercial and accounting law. He became a partner there in 1998. Prior to that, he worked as a lawyer and was also active in the banking sector. Since 1990 he has presided as a judge at the Basel-Land cantonal court in a part-time capacity, an activity which he will terminate in March 2016. Thomas Bauer has been a member of FINMA's Board of Directors since 1 August 2015.
Marlene Amstad, who has a doctorate in economics, is a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen. Among other positions she held are an economist at KOF Swiss Institute of Economics, ETH, deputy head at the Swiss National Bank and an adviser at the Bank for International Settlements in Hong Kong. Marlene Amstad joined FINMA’s Board of Directors on 1 January 2016, assuming the role of vice-chair in February 2018. She is also a member of the FINMA Takeover and State Liability Committee.
After graduating in business administration, Benjamin Gentsch began his professional career in the reinsurance industry and became a member of Zurich Re’s executive board in 1998. In this role he played an important part in Zurich Re’s successful initial public offering and was later appointed CEO of the Swiss arm of this new company under the name Converium. Following the integration of Converium into French-owned Scor in 2007, he was a member of Scor’s group executive board as CEO of the Swiss unit and Deputy CEO of the global non-life unit. Benjamin Gentsch has been a member of FINMA’s Board of Directors since 1 July 2019.
Bernard Keller, an economist, worked as a product manager for Nestlé in Canada und Taiwan before assuming a number of senior management positions in the banking sector in Ticino. He headed UBS branch offices in Lugano and Locarno, and was also responsible for its Private Banking division. Between 1997 to 2007, he initially acted as CEO of BDL Banco di Lugano and then of Banca Julius Baer (Lugano) SA. He subsequently took up a number of executive positions at Bank Julius Bär & Co. AG which he occupied until 2014. Bernard Keller joined FINMA's Board of Directors on 1 January 2016, and is also a member of its Audit and Risk Committee.
Yvan Lengwiler, who holds a doctorate in economics, is a full professor at the University of Basel. He previously worked as an economic advisor at the Swiss National Bank. Yvan Lengwiler has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2012 and is also a member of the FINMA Takeover and State Liability Committee as well as a member of the Nomination Committee.
A graduate in business administration, Günter Pleines worked for several years at the German Central Bank before moving to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). His most recent position at the BIS was as head of the banking department. He has been a member of the FINMA Board of Directors since 2013 and is also a member of the FINMA Nomination Committee.
Renate Schwob, who is an attorney-at-law and has a doctorate in law, acted as an Executive Board member of the Swiss Bankers Association from 2004 to 2014, a position from which she retired in October 2015. Among other positions she held are the posts of legal consultant at Credit Suisse, of research assistant at the Swiss Attorney General's Office and of head of the Procedural Law section at the Federal Office of Justice. Renate Schwob joined FINMA's Board of Directors on 1 January 2016, and chairs its Takeover and State Liability Committee.
After earning a degree in mathematics at ETH Zurich, Martin Suter initially worked at UBS and Credit Suisse. From 1999 to 2016, he held various posts at Swiss Life Zurich where he last was CFO for Switzerland and a member of the executive board for Switzerland. Since 2017 he has been managing director of stylasis ag in a part-time capacity. He joined FINMA's Board of Directors on 1 January 2018. He is also a member of FINMA’s Audit and Risk Committee.
Prior to his role at the supervisory authority, Franz Wipfli was a member of the Group Management Board of Zurich Financial Services. He was appointed to the FINMA Board of Directors in 2012 and chairs the FINMA Audit and Risk Committee.
To prepare its decisions, the Board of Directors has three standing committees:
The Board can also set up ad hoc committees or designate specialist members from among its ranks to act in an advisory capacity to the Board of Directors and the Executive Board. The objective here is to incorporate the Board’s specialist expertise and strategic perspective.