The SNB, or Swiss National Bank, held its annual general meeting on Friday. This was against a backdrop of protest over its action on climate change. It was also about its role in the emergency sale of Credit Suisse to UBS. Swiss National Bank played a major role in brokering the rescue of Credit Suisse. In March, a fall in deposits and a drop in share prices took the banking institution to a difficult position.
The deal still has some controversy and legal challenges, especially over the lack of investor input. It is also by the unconventional decision to wipe out fifteen billion Swiss francs of Credit Suisse AT1 bonds.
The fall of the 2nd-largest bank in the country brought about widespread discontent. It also damaged Switzerland’s reputation for financial stability.
The Swiss National Bank faced questions from shareholders about the Credit Suisse condition on Friday.
About 170 climate activists have purchased a Swiss National Bank share. A dedicated pressure group spun out of the Alliance Climatique Suisse. This is an umbrella organization that represents about 140 Swiss environmental campaign groups.
About 50 of the activist shareholders attended the meeting on Friday. The activists planned to make about a dozen speeches on stage at the AGM, Jonas Kampus, a climate campaigner, told CNBC on Wednesday. Protests were also held outside the event.
Members of a Ugandan community objecting to the East African Crude Oil Pipeline of TotalEnergies also attended on Friday.
And a full exit from fossil fuel investments, activists are now demanding that the central bank implement the 1 for 1 rule. This capital requirement prevents banks and insurers from benefiting from activities detrimental to the transition to net zero.
The Swiss National Bank must set aside 1 Swiss franc of its funds to cover potential losses for each franc allocated to financing new fossil fuel exploration and extraction.
Jonas Kampus (a climate campaigner) told CNBC over the telephone that from all sides, there is public pressure and political pressure that the central bank needs to change things. He also said that the Swiss National Bank has a conservative view of its mandate regarding financial stability and also price stability.
Jonas Kampus and his fellow activists expect the national focus on the Swiss National Bank after the Credit Suisse crisis provides a great ground to advance concerns about climate risk.
The Swiss National Bank has previously argued that the bank’s passive investment strategy is part of the bank’s mandate to remain market neutral. However, activists hope that mounting pressure will force a change in legislation to broaden the Swiss National Bank’s mandate to accommodate climate and human rights.
Credit Suisse and UBS also faced protests from climate activists at their annual general meetings this month. This was over the investment in fossil fuel companies.
About the Swiss National Bank
The SNB is the central bank of the country Switzerland. This central bank is responsible for the monetary policy of the country. It was founded in 1906-1907, and the bank has 2 headquarters. One headquarter is in Zurich, and another is in Bern. The major goal of the bank’s mandate is to ensure price stability and to consider economic developments. Thomas Jordan is the chairman of the bank.