Integrity in Banking

“We don’t have to be popular, but we aim to be respected”

Dr. Urs Philipp Roth-Cuony, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the FMA Liechtenstein

“We don’t have to be popular, but we aim to be respected”

Subsequent to the global financial crisis the financial sector is being hit by an unprecedented wave of regulations. These changes also put the relationship between the supervisory authority and financial service providers to the test.

At the G20 summit in Pittsburgh in 2009, the heads of state of the G20 countries made it unequivocally clear that they wanted to keep a much tighter rein on the industry. Their aim was to make the financial markets more secure and to increase client protection with more and tougher regulatory requirements. Since then the nature of the work of our supervisory authority has changed significantly. It is necessary that we implement the numerous European and global regulatory requirements with the involvement of the financial market players at a national level and then enforce these according to internationally recognized supervisory standards.

The market players are required to integrate the increasing number of state regulations affecting their business into their operations and comply with them. The supervisory authority has to police whether these regulations are being observed and tackle any violations. This relationship poses a challenge, of course. If the authority is to be able to work in a sustainable and expedient manner, it must have a core set of values. We consider respect as the most important value in all dealings between the financial market authority and financial service providers.

We do not just do this because social standards require that people treat each other with respect. The authority must always bear in mind that private companies take the issue of social responsibility very seriously. They also have to make a profit in order to remain competitive in addition to conducting their business in accordance with legal provisions. Conversely, we also have the right to expect respect from financial service providers for the supervisory authority and our work. On behalf of the state, we ensure the stability and credibility of the financial market, the protection of clients and the prevention and prosecution of abuse. We also have to earn respect by being professional and consistent.

Our actions are informed by the values and codes of conduct that make up our corporate identity. We see ourselves as an important economic factor for the Liechtenstein financial centre and the country. Through efficient, consistent and effective supervision we want to positively contribute to the competitiveness and good reputation of the financial centre and to secure international market access for financial intermediaries. As a supervisory body, we act in a consistent and service-oriented manner, we conduct our supervisory work with discretion, keep a sense of proportion and work in a solution-oriented way. We don’t have to be popular as a supervisory authority, but we aim to be respected.

These standards place high demands on our employees. They need to have a high level of social competence besides the necessary professional expertise. It once again goes to show that employees are a company’s most valuable resource. They are the ones who give a company its character. Only they can credibly live and represent the values in public that are at the heart of a company.

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