New capital requirements for Swiss banks will slow growth at UBS, says finance minister

By Thomson Reuters Apr 13, 2024 | 5:15 AM

ZURICH (Reuters) – The Swiss government’s proposed tougher capital requirements for the banking industry will impact UBS’s ability to grow, the country’s finance minister said in an interview published on Saturday.

Switzerland’s largest bank will have to hold more capital if the regulatory package, announced on Wednesday to prevent a repeat of the collapse of Credit Suisse, is implemented, Karin Keller-Sutter told Aargauer Zeitung.

“In short, growth will become more expensive,” she said.

The proposed changes target the country’s four largest banks with 22 measures and more than 200 pages of recommendations on how to police those deemed “too big to fail” (TBTF).

The government aims to put the measures into effect quickly and present two packages for implementation in the first half of 2025.

Of the measures, Keller-Sutter highlighted the proposal to change how Swiss parent companies of UBS and the country’s other systemic banks must in future back their foreign holdings with up to 100% equity, up from 60% at present.

“If we adjust this regulation now, it will have consequences for the growth and size of UBS,” she said.

The requirement would also make it easier to deal with authorities abroad in the event of a crisis, she added.

According to an analyst estimate UBS might need to retain $10 billion to $15 billion in excess capital, compared to what it currently holds.

In the interview, Keller-Sutter again criticised UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti’s pay package, which last year amounted to 14.4 million Swiss francs ($15.75 million).

“UBS is harming itself in this way,” she said.

($1 = 0.9140 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by Noele Illien; editing by Clelia Oziel)