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The head of FINMA becomes the new director of German financial supervision


Mark Branson, head of Swiss financial supervision (FINMA), is moving to an identical position in Germany. The transfer is to contribute to radical changes in BaFin.

German financial supervision needs to rebuild its credibility and change the rules of operation. Last year, the biggest financial scandal in the country’s post-war history took place under his nose – the collapse of Wirecard AG. BaFin not only failed the surveillance exam but also ignored reports of the bad condition of the company, which was later exposed to a shortage of nearly EUR 2 billion.

As a consequence of these events, the head of German financial supervision, Felix Hufeld, and his deputy, Elisabeth Roegele, resigned from their positions. After they leave the company, in January this year, the search for a new man to rebuild BaFin began. At a conference on March 22, Germany’s Finance Minister, Olaf Scholz announced that Mark Branson will take up this position.

11 years of experience

Branson headed FINMA in 2014. Born in the UK, with a graduate in mathematics and management from the University of Cambridge, he was the first person ever outside Switzerland to take this position.

He started his way up the career ladder at FINMA in 2010 as a banking supervision specialist. In 2013, he became deputy general director. Previously, he worked in the private sector at places such as UBS and Credit Suisse.

Great expectations

Jego nominacja na stanowiska szefa BaFin została przyjęta w Niemczech z dużym entuzjazmem. Branson musi jednak zmierzyć się z bardzo poważnym wyzwaniem i ogromnymi oczekiwaniami. Zgodnie z zapowiedziami Olafa Scholza, niemieckie władze liczą na poważną reformę, która uczyni BaFin “potężniejszym, bardziej rygorystycznym i skutecznym”.

Trust in Germany as a financial centre is important, and BaFin is a key factor in this trust – he said when announcing the name of the new head of the office.

Branson will have a long way to go, as an audit commissioned by the European Commission has shown. Representatives of all political forces in Germany hope that as the former president of FINMA, he will bring new air to BaFin and rebuild the organization. However, a lot will depend on what support Berlin will give him.

Author: Izabela Kamionka

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