The Ethos Foundation acknowledges of the takeover of Credit Suisse by UBS and regrets a huge waste for the shareholders and the Swiss economy as a whole.
Swiss pension funds - whose interests the Ethos Foundation defends and represents - are doubly penalised by this transaction. Firstly, as shareholders of both banks, they will not be able to vote on the takeover at the general meeting, as a Federal ordinance will allow to derogate from this provision in the Swiss merger law. Secondly, Swiss pension funds will be confronted in the future, like all clients (pension funds, SMEs, individuals, etc.), with the risks related to a dominating position of a single large bank on the Swiss market.
The Ethos Foundation regrets that certain strategic options - such as the separation and listing of the Swiss bank from Credit Suisse - were not pursued when it was still possible. In this respect, Ethos proposes to the Swiss authorities (Federal Council, Competition Comission and FINMA) UBS to consider the possibility of separating the Swiss banking division of Credit Suisse from the rest of the UBS group and envisage an IPO as soon as the situation has stabilised. This would preserve jobs and maintain a healthy competition, which would ensure the proper functioning of our economy.
Faced with this unprecedented failure in the history of the Swiss financial centre, Ethos will continue to defend the interests of minority shareholders, starting with the Swiss pension funds. All options will be examined in the coming days, including legal ones, to determine the responsibilities of this debacle. The Ethos Foundation also calls for the utmost transparency regarding the investment company of Michael Klein (former director of Credit Suisse), whose takeover for USD 175 million was announced by Credit Suisse in February.