Financial watchdog orders ‘protective measures’ at Sberbank Switzerland

Keystone / Roland Schlager

The Swiss financial regulator has ordered protective measures to mitigate a risk of “liquidity problems” at the Zurich subsidiary of the Russian bank Sberbank.

This content was published on March 5, 2022 – 12:35

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The measures, which include a 60-day deferral of the bank’s deposit obligations, as well as a broad ban on payments and transactions, are intended to “protect creditors”, the Federal Supervisory Authority said on Friday. financial markets (FINMA).External link.

Although the Swiss-based bank is not part of the Sberbank Europe group, which has been hit hard by European and US sanctions, FINMA said the “tightened international sanctions” nevertheless leave it “at risk of facing problems of liquidity”.

Earlier this week, Sberbank Switzerland said it would continue to operate normally even after other parts of the group pulled out of operations in the rest of Europe.

According to FINMA, the bank has now “decided not to engage in any new business until further notice and is largely proceeding with a restructuring and downsizing of its business activities”.

The supervisor also ordered the bank not to make any payments or transactions that “are not necessary for its operations as a bank”.

FINMA will appoint an investigator to monitor the state of the bank’s financial stability, equal treatment of creditors and the bank’s organizational structure, it said.

More penalties

On Friday, the Swiss Bankers Association excluded from its ranks the Swiss subsidiaries of Sberbank and Gazprombank. The association condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and declared that it supported the sanctions decided by the Swiss government.

After monitoring the first round of EU sanctions against Russia earlier this week, the Swiss government has taken further actionExternal link Friday – including targeting certain financial institutions – as part of international efforts to exclude Russia from the SWIFT financial transaction system.

Sberbank Switzerland has around 250 corporate clients, mainly related to the commodities and commodities trading sectorExternal link. It employs around 100 people and in 2020 generated a profit of 58 million Swiss francs ($63 million).

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