Swiss Bankers’ Association elects Odier as head
Patrick Odier aims to improve Switzerland’s financial reputation.Geneva -- The incoming head of the Swiss Bankers Association, Patrick Odier, said Monday he would focus on improving Switzerland's financial reputation as it is forced to revise its approach to banking secrecy.
"To reach this goal, every banker must adhere to the highest levels of ethical conduct," he said in a statement released by the biggest Swiss banking association.
Odier, a senior partner at Geneva private bank Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch (LODH), was elected unanimously by the SBA's board to succeed Pierre Mirabaud who is stepping down on 17 September.
Odier would "cultivate a positive and fruitful dialogue" with Swiss and foreign authorities but would also seek to protect "financial privacy," the association said.
The switch comes as Switzerland is forced to reform banking secrecy under international pressure to control tax evasion following the global financial crisis.
In mid-June, the Swiss finance ministry announced a tentative deal with the United States on a taxation agreement that would allow tax authorities to exchange information.
If the bilateral deal is confirmed, it would be the sixth of its kind, with more expected in order to meet new Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) standards.
All banks based in Switzerland are prevented from providing details of a customer's banking affairs to authorities or third parties by law, except when requested in criminal investigations.
That secrecy clause traditionally ruled out cooperation with domestic and foreign tax authorities, but the new agreements are expected to provide openness under certain conditions.
Odier stated that his key goal "will be to further improve Switzerland's reputation as a financial centre."
But the SBA added that while he would lobby Swiss and foreign authorities, "long-term protection of financial privacy both domestically and internationally will remain a priority."
"Protecting financial privacy in terms of data protection for all bank clients will remain an important responsibility for us as Swiss bankers in future," Odier noted.
AFP / Expatica