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UBS CEO says he feels a ‘biting headwind' from Swiss regulators

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UBS Group AG Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti attacked Switzerland's banking regulators, saying that a discussion around too-big-to-fail rules has been set off by local authorities trying too hard.

[ZURICH] UBS Group AG Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti attacked Switzerland's banking regulators, saying that a discussion around too-big-to-fail rules has been set off by local authorities trying too hard.

With the financial crisis almost a decade behind, a continued "biting headwind" of new rules set by financial watchdog Finma and other regulators is a drag on profitability, he said.

"The majority of foreign analysts and investors find the Swiss system increasingly difficult to understand," Mr Ermotti said Tuesday in a speech in Zurich. "The Swiss finish has gone from being a seal of approval to a burden."

Switzerland's Finance Ministry is weighing tougher capital requirements for the biggest firms playing a key role in the financial system, a move backed by the Swiss National Bank. Strict capital rules - which build on international standards and are known as the "Swiss finish" - have proved a thorn in the side of the nation's biggest banks as they shift into growth mode after years of painful restructurings.

"Big is bad, small is good," Mr Ermotti said was the message received from regulators. "I am criticising the constant fear-mongering."

BLOOMBERG