The expectations placed on the corporate governance of FINMA as a state authority are high. This also applies to the integrity exercised by all employees working on behalf of the authority. FINMA’s Code of Conduct sets clear guidelines for avoiding conflicts of interest before they occur, wherever possible.
No individuals working for FINMA may directly or indirectly hold securities (e.g. equities, options, derivatives) of supervised institutions, also in relation to asset management mandates. New staff members must dispose of securities of supervised institutions within six months. Special regulations may apply to securities originating from an earlier employment relationship. In certain situations, FINMA employees may also be forbidden from withdrawing deposits at supervised institutions.
The Code of Conduct also governs when employees are required to abstain (recusal). Such instances include the mere appearance of bias. The interests of related parties (spouse, partner, parents or children) can also play a role here. The abstention rules aim to ensure that managers at FINMA reach their decisions free of extraneous considerations and independently of public influences.
The Code of Conduct also governs the acceptance of gifts and other benefits, the handling of official secrecy and secondary employment, as well as the conditions for FINMA staff members moving to take up a position at a supervised institution.
In order to prevent conflicts of interest before they occur, Article 8 of the Code of Conduct requires that FINMA managers hold their savings deposits at the Federal Employees' Savings Bank (Sparkasse Bundespersonal). This affects the Chair of the Board of Directors and all members of the Executive Board with decision-making powers in the event of a banking crisis. To prevent the appearance of bias in a crisis situation, the Code of Conduct allows the Executive Board to define further functions at FINMA which may only them to hold their savings deposits at the Federal Employees' Savings Bank and/or not to deposit savings at banks under their supervision.