Switzerland's banking sector, once synonymous with stability and secrecy, is under intense scrutiny after its two biggest banks became caught in the sub-prime crisis.
Industry leaders and the authorities, who had stressed the situation was under control, appear to have changed their tune as the country's biggest bank UBS has taken write-downs of more than $37 billion, earning the dubious distinction of being the world's worst-hit group.
In a speech on Friday to mark the Swiss National Bank's centenary, the country's top central banker Jean-Pierre Roth said a re-think of corporate governance and a strengthening of rules was vital to maintain the reputation of Switzerland as a top-flight financial centre.
"For a financial centre like ours – which includes international banks whose private banking arms generate substantial revenue and consequently rely on having a spotless reputation – such action is vital," Roth said. (AFP)