Bloomberg News

SNB Watchdog Says He’ll Stay Following Hildebrand’s Resignation

January 12, 2012

Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) -- The head of the Swiss central bank’s supervisory body resisted calls to step down amid allegations the council failed to adequately oversee trades by members of the governing board.

“I am used to weathering stiff headwinds,” Hansueli Raggenbass, head of the Swiss National Bank’s council, told state broadcaster SF yesterday. “I will remain president of the Bank Council as long as the Swiss National Bank needs me.”

Pressure on the Bank Council has been mounting after a currency purchase of $504,000 by Philipp Hildebrand’s wife in August forced the SNB head to resign on Jan. 9. While the 48- year old former hedge fund manager said he was unaware of the transaction and an internal probe last year cleared him of any wrongdoing, e-mail documents disclosed this week showed that he had discussed buying dollars with his wife.

The failure of the council to regulate transactions by SNB board members and their families shows that it “isn’t up to its task,” Peter V. Kunz, head of the business law department at the University of Bern, said on Jan. 9. “Almost every company in Switzerland seems to be better regulated than the SNB.”

The Zurich-based SNB has already pledged to toughen its internal rules and will look into transactions by the remaining two board members, Thomas Jordan and Jean-Pierre Danthine and their deputies. It was the Bank Council that had forced Hildebrand to resign, Blick newspaper reported yesterday.

Some lawmakers are saying the bank’s 11-member supervisory body acted too slowly following allegations.

“I have serious doubts about whether the council can keep operating with its current head,” Christian Levrat, head of the Swiss Social Democratic Party, told SF broadcaster yesterday. “In the Hildebrand case, the council should have acted much faster and more energetically.”

--Editors: Simone Meier, Patrick Henry

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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