Swiss central bank regrets exit of ‘outstanding’ chief

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) said last night it had lost an “outstanding” central banker after Philipp Hildebrand resigned over the scandal surrounding his wife’s currency dealings.

Hildebrand said in a statement he was quitting his post ahead of a planned grilling by politicians.

He has been under pressure to resign after an anonymous whistleblower revealed that his wife, a former hedge fund trader, bought CHF400,000 worth of US dollars on 15 August last year.

The trade came just three weeks before the SNB announced it would defend a floor for the franc at CHF1.20 to the euro, a move which saw the franc’s value drop sharply.

Safe haven flows meant the franc had been moving nearer parity with the euro last summer, to the detriment of the Swiss economy.

Kashya Hildebrand made a reported profit of CHF40,000 in buying what she called the “almost ridiculously cheap” dollars. Hildebrand has denied he had authorised his wife’s trade.

The SNB, which has made vice chairman, Thomas Jordan, chairman of the SNB Governing Board for now, said the loss of Hildebrand took away a “great benefit” to Switzerland.

It said: “Switzerland is losing an outstanding central banker with excellent international connections, which have brought great benefit to our country.

“Philipp Hildebrand, together with his colleagues in the Governing Board, successfully steered the SNB through a period of exceptional monetary policy challenges. At all times, his endeavour and his goal was the optimal fulfilment of the SNB’s mandate.”

The SNB said it will replace Hildebrand permanently as quickly as possible.


This article was first published on Investment Week

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