The emergency takeover of Credit Suisse by UBS is now to be thoroughly investigated by a PUK, a parliamentary investigative commission. The National Council Office has now defined the framework for this.
Head of the Bundeshaus editorial office, SRF
Philipp Burkhardt is head of the Bundeshaus editorial department at Radio SRF, for which he has been working for over 24 years. Before that he had worked for “10vor10” and the “SonntagsZeitung”.
What should the PUK examine in detail? What is your assignment?
The role of the Federal Council, that of the federal administration and also the other carriers of tasks of the federal government should be clarified, provided that they are subject to the supervision of the parliament. This means above all the financial market supervisory authority Finma. So the job is pretty big. It is also interesting that the period of time to be examined is not precisely defined. The order speaks of the “last few years” that are to be examined. With such a wording, the PUK could go far back into the past.
Is the role of the banks and their management not an issue for the PUK?
Banks are private companies and are not subject to parliamentary oversight. However, the office of the National Council has found a trick to involve the banks in the investigation of the PUK. The order says that the cooperation between the authorities “with third parties” should also be scrutinized, and you can only do that if you also interview bank representatives and look at their role. All parties are extremely satisfied with the order formulated in this way, and it was passed unanimously this afternoon.
How is the PUK staffed and funded?
The Office of the National Council proposes that the National Council and the Council of States each have 7 members, i.e. 14 in total. This is comparable to previous PUKs, which had between 10 and 14 members. The respective parliamentary groups can propose who should sit in the PUK, and the members will then be formally elected by the offices of the respective councils in the third week of the summer session, which started today. And both offices together, the so-called coordination conference, then elects the presidium of the PUK from these 14 members, also in the third week of the session. The PUK for Credit Suisse is to be provided with a budget of five million Swiss francs.
What is the PUK allowed to do that a business audit commission is not allowed to do?
The most important difference is that a PUK also has access to the secret minutes of Federal Council meetings. Otherwise, only the so-called “business control delegation” of the parliament (GPDel), a six-member body of the National Council and the Council of States, which oversees the intelligence service of the federal government. However, this GPDel would be overwhelmed if it also had to carry out such a huge investigation into Credit Suisse. By the way, this is very rare. The PUK for Credit Suisse would only be the fifth in the more than 50 years since this instrument has been in existence.
Will the PUK bring new findings to light?
In any case! A great deal of what happened in the run-up to the CS takeover is classified, and PUK could now shed some light on that. This is particularly important with regard to the post-processing of the whole matter. The Federal Council has announced that it intends to submit a report within a year that is intended to show which legal adjustments to banking regulation are now needed. And you can actually only decide on improvements when you know exactly what went wrong in the first place.