Swiss National Bank (SNB)
The Swiss National Bank (SNB) is the central bank of Switzerland. It was formed in 1907 and the main responsibility of the SNB is monetary policy and printing of the Confederatio Helvetica Franc (CHF) bank notes. The SNB is headquartered in Bern and Zurich.
Structure of the SNB
The Swiss National Bank is currently headed by Thomas Jordan. The bank is actually structured as a corporation with a shareholder base, whose shares can be traded on the stock market. The SNB is owned by private individuals (45%) and public institutions (55%). There is a board (the Governing Board) that serves as the management and executive body. The board is made up of three members: the Chairman (Thomas Jordan), the Vice-Chairman (Jean-Pierre Danthine) and a member (Fritz Zurbrugg). In addition to the board, there is a Bank Council that oversees the day-to-day operations of the SNB. Shareholders meet once a year (April) to conduct their Annual General Meetings. The Shareholders wield a lot of power and constitute half of the membership of the Bank Council.
Functions of the SNB
- Monetary policy is the primary task of the SNB. This it does by setting of interest rates and exchange rates of the CHF relative to other currencies when as deemed fit. This was reflected in the minimum exchange rate peg for the EURCHF introduced by the bank on September 6, 2011 to curtail the overvaluation of the Swiss Franc.
- Printing and distribution of Swiss Franc bank notes and control of the supply of this currency.
- Management of Swiss currency reserves, as well as the official gold reserves of Switzerland and some foreign governments.
- Stabilization of the financial system of Switzerland.
- Keeping financial records of transactions of the Swiss government.
- Banker to the government of Switzerland and its agencies.