World News

UBS, Credit Suisse’s emergency plans are effective: financial watchdog

By John Revill

ZURICH (Reuters) – The emergency plans of UBS <UBSG.S> and Credit Suisse <CSGN.S> to deal with a financial crisis are effective, Switzerland’s regulator FINMA said on Tuesday.

The assessment follows a review of the recovery and resolution plans for the country’s big banks which FINMA ordered to be submitted by the end of 2019.

The review followed the implementation of Switzerland’s Too Big to Fail rules, aimed at reducing risks in the country’s financial system and avoiding the need for taxpayer-funded rescues.

The laws, brought in after UBS was rescued by the Swiss government in 2008, are intended to ensure functions like domestic deposit taking and lending continues even during a severe crisis.

“FINMA views the Swiss emergency plans of Credit Suisse and UBS as effective,” FINMA said.

The emergency plans of the other three systemically important banks – PostFinance, Raiffeisen [RFSHW.UL] and Zuercher Kantonalbank [ZKB.UL]- do not meet the statutory requirements yet, the regulator added.

“Implementation of the Swiss too-big-to-fail regime is critically important to the stability of the financial centre,” said Mark Branson, chief executive of FINMA.

“Considerable progress has been made, but there is still more to do.”

FINMA said UBS met the requirements for an effective emergency plan, although certain joint and several liabilities remain excessive. Credit Suisse’s emergency plan was effective, the regulator said.

Under the recovery plan, the banks are obliged to set out measures to ensure their stability in a crisis and be able to continue their operations without government intervention.

UBS and Credit Suisse have also made considerable progress in their global resolution plans, which would make it easier to wind them up or restructure them.

The two banks have for example created holding structures and Swiss subsidiaries to make it easier for them to be disentangled, FINMA said.

A simpler structure and its work in bail-in mechanisms – where shareholders supply cash to rescue struggling banks – were key parts of Credit Suisse’s approach to the too big to fail issue, the bank said.

“After the establishment of Credit Suisse (Schweiz) AG in 2015, which consolidates the systemically important functions and other critical operations in a separate legal entity in Switzerland, the development of a credible Swiss Emergency Plan and the successful passing of the FINMA review are major landmarks for Credit Suisse,” Chief Executive Thomas Gottstein said in a statement.

(Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman & Shri Navaratnam)