Switzerland’s FINMA Names New Chair as Thomas Bauer Steps Down

Marlene Amstad, vice-chair of the Swiss regulator, has been elected to replace Bauer as the regulator’s new chair.

Switzerland’s financial markets regulator is reshuffling its board of directors, adding Asian expertise to lead the supervisory authority’s activities after the term of current chief expires at the end of 2020.

The chair of FINMA’s board of directors, Thomas Bauer, is to step down at the end of the year, the Swiss market regulator said today. In his place, Marlene Amstad, vice-chair of the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, has been elected by the country’s Federal Council to replace Bauer as the regulator’s new chair effective January 2021.

Amstad is a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and lecturer at the University of Bern and has been a member of the board since January 2016. She began her career as an economist with Swiss lender Credit Suisse before switching to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Hong Kong, where she worked as an advisor from 2012 to 2015.

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Amstad also served at the Swiss National Bank (SNB), originally as the head of investment strategy and financial market analysis. She was promoted to held several roles at the central bank until she rose to the rank of deputy director.

Swiss authorities are adding a seasoned Asia expert as they were eager to maintain a leading role for Switzerland in the cryptocurrency space while playing catch-up in its rapidly changing landscape. Earlier last year, FINMA released its initial coin offering (ICO) guidelines and classification of tokens and laid out a number of objectives as a part of its fintech-friendly agenda.

Speaking about the newest board member, Bauer said: “Today’s election paves the way for a smooth transition in the Chair of FINMA’s Board of Directors, guaranteeing continuity. For me personally the end of the year is a good time to pass on the baton after five fulfilling years as Chair and upon reaching retirement age.”

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