One of the seven strategic goals of the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) is "Increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of supervision". In a report published today, FINMA outlines the steps it has taken to this end and the results it has achieved to date. FINMA is focusing on three aspects: adopting a systematically risk-based supervisory approach for all areas of supervision, further developing the supervisory instruments at its disposal, and optimising its organisation. With today's report, FINMA has fulfilled an obligation towards the Control Committees of the National Council and Council of States.
The Federal Council approved FINMA's seven strategic goals in September 2009. These goals set out the authority's main focus for a three-year period, in terms of both fulfilment of its statutory mandate and the further development of its operations. FINMA is in a position to effect change of its own accord as regards the goal of "Increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of supervision". The report sums up the progress made so far at the mid-point of the three-year strategy implementation process. It explains how the lessons learnt from the financial crisis and the efforts undertaken to build an integrated financial market supervisory authority from the three predecessor organisations have shaped FINMA's supervisory operations.
Risk-based supervisory approach
At the heart of FINMA's new, integrated supervisory activities is a systematically risk-based approach that applies to all areas of supervision. All of the institutions FINMA supervises are allocated to one of six categories according to their risk impact on creditors, investors, policy holders and the system as a whole, as well as the reputation of the Swiss financial sector. In addition to being allocated to a risk category, each institution receives a rating corresponding to FINMA's assessment of its current state. These two parameters – categorisation and institution rating – serve as the basis for determining the extent of supervision and the use of supervisory instruments. The aim is to achieve a more systematic risk orientation of supervisory activities and a closer involvement with the institutions that are relevant from a risk perspective. FINMA's risk-based supervisory approach also ensures the responsible deployment of the human and financial resources at its disposal, since its existing supervisory capacities are directed precisely towards supervised institutions which, owing to the risks underlying them, demand greater attention.
Further development of supervisory instruments
While the supervisory instruments at FINMA's disposal can differ between the various areas of supervision and risk categories, they all follow the same conceptual approach. FINMA conducts more on-site reviews at the larger and more complex institutions in order to compile its own picture of their activities and methods. These reviews are currently being carried out on a regular basis at the large banking groups, and selectively (focusing on specific issues) at other banks and among insurance companies. Where it identifies potential sources of risk, FINMA also carries out rapid and comprehensive, cross-sector surveys or comparisons.
Tobias Lux, Media Spokesperson, Phone +41 (0)31 327 91 71, firstname.lastname@example.org