Mark Branson appointed as CEO of Swiss Finma

The board of directors of the Swiss Financial Markets Supervisory Authority, Finma, has unanimously appointed former UBS banker Mark Branson as CEO as of 1 April 2014.

Branson has been acting as interim CEO since February 1st, he succeeds Patrick Raaflaub, who left Finma in January. Branson joined Finma as head of banks division and member of the executive board since 2010.

Prior to his appointment at Finma, Branson held several senior positions at UBS. His appointment as CEO of Finma had faced political criticism from certain Swiss MPs; the bank paid settlements of some $1.5bn to UK, US and Swiss regulators over allegations of rigging the Libor rate, at a time when Branson was in charge of UBS’ Japan Unit in 2008-9.

However, it is also the case that Branson was not directly accused of wrongdoing, and Finma’s board notes that he was cleared in the various investigations carried out by the UFS, CFTC, COJ, Finma itself and the Japanese FSA.

Branson’s nomination is regarded as a continuation of Switzerland’s more stringent approach to banking regulations. This is illustrated by the fact that Swiss authorities imposed tough capital requirements on Swiss Banks such as UBS. Branson consequently defused allegations of favouritism, ordering his former employer UBS to stockpile CHF28bn in extra capital.

Alongside the appointment of Mark Branson, Yann Wermeille, currently head of markets division, will leave Finma to take on a management position in the financial sector as of 1 April. Wermeille has been a member of the Finma executive board since 2011, his position will be taken over by Léonard Bôle as head of markets division and Michael Loretan who will be in charge of the asset management division.

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