The head of Switzerland’s banking watchdog has resigned after suffering a deterioration in health partly caused by the crisis surrounding Credit Suisse this year.
(Bloomberg) — The head of Switzerland’s banking watchdog has resigned after suffering a deterioration in health partly caused by the crisis surrounding Credit Suisse this year.
Finma Chief Executive Officer Urban Angehrn’s resignation takes effect at the end of September, with deputy CEO Birgit Rutishauser becoming interim head pending a formal appointment process, the regulator said in a statement Wednesday.
Switzerland’s banking regulator was thrust into the global spotlight this year as Credit Suisse headed toward collapse after years of management failings. While Finma has been criticized for not intervening early or forcefully enough, the regulator has said it lacks the powers to do so, including the ability to fine banks.
“The high and permanent stress level had health consequences,” Angehrn said in the statement. “I have considered my decision carefully and have now decided to step down.”
In July, Angehrn wrote in an unusually candid newspaper opinion piece that the problems at Credit Suisse exposed the limits of Finma’s oversight capabilities and lawmakers should provide the watchdog with the ability to impose fines.
An expert panel last week recommended Finma should be able to fine bankers for bad behavior as well as “name and shame” them in a manner common in the US and UK. Right now, Finma can only take back profits deemed ill-gained and the names of those being sanctioned are almost never disclosed.
Read More: Swiss Expert Group Says Finma Should Be Able to Fine Banks
Angehrn, 58, had led Finma since November 2021. He worked for 14 years at Zurich Insurance and previously as head of strategy at Winterthur’s asset management division. Before that, he spent 11 years in derivatives marketing at Credit Suisse First Boston and JPMorgan Chase & Co. He earned a Masters degree in physics from ETH Zurich before completing a PhD in mathematics from Harvard.
“Being able to contribute to the sustainable improvement of the quality of the Swiss financial center as CEO of Finma was a unique challenge for me, and one that I tackled with all my might,” Angehrn said. “It is very difficult for me to hand over this task, but this is a step guided by reason.”
Read More: Credit Suisse Collapsed, Switzerland Returned to Making Money
(Updates with debate over more powers for Finma from sixth paragraph)
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