Philipp Hildebrand: The new investment policy of the Swiss National Bank
Introductory remarks by Mr Philipp Hildebrand,
Member of the Governing Board of the Swiss National Bank,
at the half-yearly media news conference,
Geneva, 17 June 2004.
"1. The evolution of the new investment policy
The new National Bank Act has been in force since 1 May 2004. The management of monetary reserves is explicitly mentioned in the NBA as part of the Swiss National Bank’s mandate for the first time. The management of these reserves is subject to the primacy of monetary policy and implemented according to the criteria of liquidity, security and return. In so doing, the National Bank
must guarantee professional, modern asset management and risk management.
Until the mid-1990s, the National Bank only had limited possibilities for managing its assets. Monetary reserves were mainly held in the form of gold and foreign-currency government bonds with a maturity of less than one year. Accounting for approximately 80%, the US dollar was the main reserve currency. An easing of investment regulations came about in 1997 when the legally prescribed maximum term for bonds was repealed and repo and gold lending business was introduced. At the same time, the National Bank began to diversify currency risks on its investments to a greater degree and gradually reduced the US dollar portion. The new Act takes this a step further and leaves the permissible investment universe completely open..."