Bloomberg News

SNB to Overhaul Rules on Transactions by Its Executives

January 09, 2012

(Updates with quotes from statement in second paragraph.)

Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) -- The supervisory body of the Swiss central bank said it will overhaul rules on executives’ financial transactions following the controversy over a foreign- exchange trade by the wife of Swiss National Bank Chairman Philipp Hildebrand.

“With the support of external specialists, a comprehensive revision of the regulations and directives on own-account transactions involving financial instruments by members of the Enlarged Governing Board will be undertaken,” the SNB Bank Council said in an e-mailed statement today. “The corresponding draft regulations and the revised directives for SNB employees are to be submitted to the Bank Council as soon as possible.”

In addition, all bank transactions by all members of the Enlarged Governing Board from Jan. 1, 2009 until Dec. 31, 2011 will be examined by external auditors, the bank council said in the statement.

SNB President Philipp Hildebrand on Jan. 5 expressed regret that he didn’t curb a purchase of dollars for francs by his wife on Aug. 15, three weeks before the SNB imposed a limit of 1.20 francs per euro, prompting the dollar to rise sharply against the Swiss currency. Hildebrand said he didn’t know about his spouse’s transaction, which was called “sensitive” by an external probe.

Other trades carried out by himself didn’t breach laws or the central bank’s internal rules, Hildebrand said. His statement followed calls for his resignation as media speculated he used transactions for his personal enrichment.

The council today also said that until the revision of the rules, members of the Enlarged Governing Board as well as staff members with access to privileged information must first get approval from the SNB’s Chief Compliance Officer for foreign exchange transactions exceeding 20,000 Swiss francs ($20,900).

The SNB Enlarged Governing Board consists of the three members of the Governing Board and three deputies.

--Editor: Dick Schumacher

To contact the reporter on this story: Klaus Wille in Zurich at kwille@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net


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