Swiss Inquiry Reveals Scope of Credit Suisse Post-Mortem Investigation
Switzerland has unveiled unprecedented insights into its inquiry process concerning the downfall of Credit Suisse, shedding light on the highly secretive procedures that will examine the actions of state bodies dating back to 2015. Credit Suisse, once the nation's second-largest bank, endured a series of scandals and losses, culminating in its state-engineered takeover by UBS in March.
A Swiss parliamentary committee has announced that it has finalized the "investigation concept" for the post-mortem, outlining the specific timeframes it will scrutinize leading up to the emergency Credit Suisse rescue. This financial crisis has sent shockwaves through Switzerland's financial sector and prompted a cross-party inquiry—a rarity in the country's modern history, having occurred only five times prior.
The initial phase of the investigation will delve into events predating mid-2022, tracing back to 2015 when the Swiss cabinet submitted its initial evaluation report on systemically important banks. Subsequently, the committee will examine the roles of the government, the financial markets watchdog FINMA, and the Swiss National Bank as Credit Suisse's situation deteriorated from late 2022 to March 2023. This phase, often referred to as the 'acute crisis,' will encompass the period from March 15 when the bank faced a liquidity crisis due to client withdrawals, to March 19 when the government announced its support for the UBS takeover.
The final phase will encompass the implementation of the emergency takeover itself. With the completion of the "investigation concept," the committee is now set to commence its actual investigation. This will involve the examination of documents and hearings with representatives of federal authorities. It's worth noting that the committee has operated under strict confidentiality laws, limiting the public's access to information regarding its activities.
While refraining from disclosing the specific individuals they will interview or the documents they will review, the committee has set an ambitious target to conclude its work by the end of February 2024, after which it will compile its final report.
In a bid to gain further insights into the implementation of financial market supervision legislation and to compare Swiss regulations with international standards, the committee has announced plans to consult external experts. Additionally, an external mandate will be awarded to analyze the development of problems at Credit Suisse over the past few years. However, it's important to note that the committee's scope does not include evaluating the bank's management, as this falls outside its purview.