ZURICH, Sept 9 Parliamentarians from
Switzerland's right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP) are mounting
a new effort to split up UBS and Credit Suisse
by teaming with left-wing lawmakers.
Lower-house lawmakers on Monday submitted three motions
aimed at separating investment banking activities from so-called
systemically relevant activities, even after Switzerland put
stiffer regulation into force last year for the country's two
"A bank should only as big that it can be allowed to fail in
an emergency, without the state intervening," SVP lawmaker
Caspar Baader said in parliament.
"We need smaller banks as a result, and thus more of them."
UBS, which recently cut the last tie to the Swiss government
over its 2008 rescue, and Credit Suisse, which raised capital
the same year without state aid, form the backbone of a
financial industry that generates 6 percent of Switzerland's
gross domestic product.
SVP lawmakers had already paired with the left-wing Social
Democrats (SP) in 2009 over splitting up UBS and Credit Suisse,
but those efforts failed after differing political aims emerged
when the two began hammering out details.
This time, the SVP offered few specifics, asking the
government, which said it would oppose the motion, for
The stiffer rules have already led both banks to act.
Credit Suisse has pruned risky assets and slashed investment
banking activities which soak up substantial capital.
UBS has gone further. In October, the bank said it would
fire 10,000 staff and largely wind down its fixed income
business in favor of returning to its private banking roots.
Authorities have been grappling since the collapse of U.S.
investment bank Lehman Brothers five years ago with the question
of how banks regarded as systemically important, or too big to
fail (TBTF), can be recapitalized without causing panic or
needing taxpayer cash.
The Swiss regulator said last month that Switzerland
shouldn't bail out its largest banks again before asking
creditors and shareholders to stump up.
(Reporting By Katharina Bart)