A robust institutional framework as the foundation for success

April 26, 2024
116th Ordinary General Meeting of Shareholders of the Swiss National Bank, Berne

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The SNB's mandate is to ensure price stability while taking due account of economic developments. Price stability is central to the functioning of the economy and to overall prosperity. It is therefore crucial for Switzerland that the SNB fulfil its statutory mandate. The SNB must also be accountable in this.

The basis for the SNB's successful fulfilment of its mandate is the institutional framework within which it operates. This framework is comprised of its independence and its narrowly defined statutory mandate. The legislator granted the SNB independence from political influence and special interests so that it can also make difficult and unpopular decisions if necessary. Expanding the mandate to include objectives other than price stability would waste resources and inevitably lead to conflicts of interest.

Recently, however, there has been a growing number of calls for the SNB to change. These demands for change come from a wide variety of political and ideological directions, but they almost always take aim at the tried-and-trusted pillars of our institution. The SNB does not shy away from criticism. On the contrary, it engages with it. But recent critics must ask themselves whether they are trying to change something that doesn't need to be changed. The SNB functions very well, and it fulfils its mandate excellently, even in times of crisis.

Having said this, and despite its strong performance in recent years, the SNB is not standing still, but rather is continuously analysing its structures and processes and adapting these where necessary. For example, we recently increased the number of deputy members of the Governing Board. Demands that restrict a central bank's independence or weaken its institutional framework by diluting its mandate or making ill-considered changes to its organisational structure jeopardise price stability and, ultimately, social cohesion in our country.

The SNB is very well positioned to fulfil its mandate successfully in the future. To ensure that this remains the case, it is important to stand up for the SNB's proven and stable institutional framework.

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  • Barbara Janom Steiner
    President of the Bank Council

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