The SIF sinks into the mud

SIF and the Swiss financial industry are sticking together far too much. (Image: R. McGuire / pixabay)

The State Secretariat for International Financial Matters (SIF) has come under fire. This shows that the authority is not needed at all.

The Federal Council created the State Secretariat for International Financial Matters (SIF) in the course of the ‘white money strategy’ and more than a decade later it turns out that the authority has become obsolete.

Actually, the institution was supposed to make sure that Switzerland would get along without black money. At the same time, however, the SIF was also supposed to lay the foundations for financial market regulation and fight international financial crime.

Protests about the media

Not much has remained of all this, as “SonntagsBlick” reveals in its latest issue. The paper bases its findings on information that had to be made available under the Public Information Act.

It shows that the authority uses its understanding of the implementation of the white money strategy, among other things, to intervene with journalists who report critical things about Switzerland and the Swiss financial industry.

On a first-name basis

In addition, the representatives of the authorities around State Secretary Daniela Stoffel are on a first-name basis with the financial industry. Emails go back and forth practically every minute, which raises the question of the critical distance of the SIF when it comes to independence, for example, in the development of financial market regulation.

The authority even contacts the “Financial Times” and wants to influence its reporting.

“Dear Daniela. Thank you very much for your intervention at the ‘Financial Times’,” the financial industry dutifully thanked, as an email from the Swiss Bankers Association SBA, the mouthpiece of the big banks UBS and Credit Suisse, make clear.

Stooge of the financial world

SIF intervened in critical posts, for example, on “Crypto-Valley” in Zug, where international concerns about money laundering and financial crime were raised.

A representative of Bank Vontobel wrote to SIF State Secretary Daniela Stoffel in early 2022: “Dear Daniela (…) In my opinion, the financial center and the state institutions must take this tone extremely seriously.”

Within minutes Stoffel wrote back: “Dear (…) We have discussed this article internally today. The ‘FT’ is strategically very critical of the Swiss financial center,” it said.

Working hand in hand

Even when the SBA announced further critical articles in “The Guardian” or the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” on the topics of money laundering and the Swiss financial center, because the papers had certainly asked the Bankers Association for comments, the Swiss bankers sought direct support from SIF.

“I will direct our media office to proactively communicate how the issue is being addressed in Switzerland,” SIF responded officiously.

How Swiss banks react to regulation was recently illustrated by the “infinite loop” that money houses are seeking to prevent higher capital requirements on “Basel III Final” in this country, as is also reported by

Nice positions

Stoffel’s predecessor, long-time federal civil servant Joerg Gasser, also cultivated close ties to Paradeplatz & Co. Eventually, he became the CEO of the Bankers Association. Therefore, since March 1, 2019, Stoffel, a former employee of Swiss embassies in Washington and Berlin, has been the SIF’s state secretary.

If one goes to the website of the SIF authority, the key figures on Switzerland as a financial center come up as the “Top Dossier”. In addition, a few media releases appear on tax regulations of the home office with France and measures of the Federal Council for a sustainable financial center.

Tasks of the FSO and FDFA

However, existing institutions, such as the Federal Finance Department (FDF) or the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), which is responsible for figures, can also take over such things very well. There is no need for a separate SIF apparatus for this.

Moreover, the main task of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) is to represent Switzerland’s interests abroad. This includes the interests of the Swiss financial industry.

Private at state expense

A state institution, such as SIF, which is actually a stooge of the financial industry, cannot provide a proper basis for financial market regulation and thus provide basic services for the supervised.

And while we of are at criticism, the private financial industry should also use its private means and not tax money to fight for its interests as well as its worldwide image.


The SIF sinks into the mud

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