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Swiss Regulator Names Former UBS Banker As CEO

Stephen Little

28 March 2014

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), Switzerland’s financial watchdog, has appointed Mark Branson as chief executive, making him the first foreigner to assume the role. The Swiss regulator has also made a number of changes to its executive board.

Branson has been acting as interim CEO since 1 February 2014 and will take up the post as of 1 April 2014, said in a statement. He replaces Patrick Raaflaub, who stepped down at the end of January

Branson is British-born and led UBS in Japan between 2006 to 2008 when traders there were manipulating benchmark interest rates. He was later cleared by the Swiss regulator, but the bank was fined $1.5 billion.

“While in charge of banking supervision, Mark Branson has shown that he is well capable of becoming FINMA CEO. As a member of the executive board, he has shaped a number of important projects in all supervisory areas, as well as in international committees. He is fully acquainted with FINMA's daily business and its long-term objectives. The FINMA board of directors has full confidence in Mark Branson's expertise, competence, integrity and broad experience at the national and international levels," said Anne Héritier Lachat, chair of the FINMA board of directors.

His appointment has been approved by the Federal Council.

Board changes

Yann Wermeille, head of markets division, will leave FINMA to take up a management position at a new company in the financial sector. He will continue acting as head of markets division until 1 April 2014 to ensure a smooth handover of business.

The FINMA Board of Directors has appointed Léonard Bôle and Michael Loretan to succeed Wermeille on the executive board.

The markets division will now be split into two. The newly-created asset management division will include the licensing and supervision of asset managers and collective investment schemes, while the markets division will now focus on the supervision of financial market infrastructure, combating money laundering, self-regulatory organisations, directly subordinated financial intermediaries and audit firms, the regulator said.