Head of Swiss financial regulator steps down

Raaflaub began work at FINMA in 2009 Keystone

The head of the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) will step down at the end of January. Patrick Raaflaub has managed the department for five years and decided to resign on his own accord, according to FINMA.

This content was published on January 15, 2014 - 16:38 and agencies

Raaflaub has worked for the supervisory authority since its 2009 launch, overseeing the task of merging the Swiss Federal Banking Commission, the Federal Office of Private Insurance and the Anti-Money Laundering Control Authority into one organisation. He also headed FINMA following the global financial crisis, leading the oversight of UBS and Credit Suisse in its wake.

"I am proud of what we have achieved in such a challenging environment,” Raaflaub said in the announcement of his departure, adding, “It is now time for me to take on a new challenge."

Raaflaub will be succeeded as Chief Executive Officer by Mark Branson, the current Deputy CEO. Branson, a former senior executive at UBS, testified before the United States Senate on behalf of UBS before joining FINMA, apologising for the bank’s role in aiding US tax evaders.

Branson also came under fire in December 2012 after UBS was forced to pay a large penalty to settle Libor rate rigging offences. In the Libor settlement, it was revealed the Japanese securities unit of UBS, which Branson had headed up, was involved in the rate manipulation. Though several parliamentarians called for Branson’s resignation in the wake of the revelations, Raaflaub defended him, stating that no investigations had revealed anything suggesting Branson’s involvement in the Libor scandal.

Earlier this week, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) newspaper reported that Anne Héritier Lachat, Chair of the FINMA Board of Directors, would soon announce her resignation due to retirement. However, FINMA later said there were no plans for her to retire early.

On Wednesday, the NZZ called the news of Raaflaub’s departure instead of Lachat’s “a surprise” and suggested he may be trying to set a standard among FINMA employees by departing after five years, having often said that work at the organisation was an “exciting career step” but not necessarily one’s life’s work.

Raaflaub must wait six months before taking a position at any institution currently overseen by FINMA.

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