UBS-US deal in bonus row

THE Swiss economy minister has urged the country’s parliament not to conflate the need for UBS to pass private clients’ details to the US with the emotive question of bankers’ bonuses.

Switzerland’s government meets on Wednesday to discuss the UBS deal, which would see 4,450 secret bank accounts handed over to American tax investigators. At the same meeting lawmakers will consider an interim report on whether banks are “too big to fail”.

Doris Leuthard, head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, said the UBS arrangement was important for Swiss-US relations.

But she added: “I hope that parliament distinguishes between the agreement and open questions such as ‘too big to fail’ and regulating bonuses. The government wants to solve these problems, but it’s not possible to link them all.”

The topic of executive pay at banks has caused controversy in Switzerland. Local media reports have suggested the government is looking to amend laws restricting UBS’ ability to share data with America in exchange for a crackdown on bankers’ bonuses, which would ease the UBS-related legislation’s transition through parliament.