Annual loss for the SNB in 2022 - reasons, significance and consequences

Barbara Janom Steiner, President of the Bank Council

115th Ordinary General Meeting of Shareholders of the Swiss National Bank, Berne, 28.04.2023

The Swiss National Bank posted a loss for the 2022 financial year. The difference compared with private sector companies is that the SNB's annual result is no indicator of how well it is performing, which in the case of the SNB means fulfilling its statutory mandate. Given the primacy of monetary policy, serving the interests of the country as a whole may require monetary policy decisions that result in increased balance sheet risks. For this reason, it is imperative that the SNB have sufficient equity to be able to absorb losses that may be incurred. Even if its equity were to be temporarily negative, the SNB would still be entirely able to fulfil its monetary policy mandate. A protracted period of negative equity could, however, undermine the SNB's credibility over the long term and raise doubts regarding its ability to take action. It is therefore important that the SNB continue to adhere to a prudent provisioning policy, with the focus on ensuring its capacity to act over the long term.