The Swiss National Bank conducts the country’s monetary policy as an independent central bank. It is obliged by the Constitution and by statute to act in accordance with the interests of the country as a whole. Its primary goal is to ensure price stability, while taking due account of economic developments. In so doing, it creates an appropriate environment for economic growth.

Organisation of the SNB

The SNB has two head offices: one in Berne and one in Zurich. In addition, it maintains six representative offices (in Basel, Geneva, Lausanne, Lucerne, Lugano and St Gallen). Furthermore, it has 14 agencies operated by cantonal banks that help to secure the supply of money to the country.

SNB profits

The determination and distribution of profits are governed by the National Bank Act (arts. 30 and 31). According to these articles, the SNB shall set up provisions permitting it to maintain currency reserves at the level which is necessary for monetary policy. In so doing, it shall take into account the development of the Swiss economy. A dividend not exceeding six percent of the share capital shall be paid from the net profit. One-third of any net profit remaining after the distribution shall accrue to the Confederation and two-thirds to the cantons.

The current annual distribution to the Confederation and the cantons amounts to CHF 1 billion, and will be made only if the distribution reserve is not negative after appropriation of profit.

More details may be found under profit and distribution of profit.