Thomas Jordan: Swiss National Bank distributions – not a matter of course even when profits are high

Introductory remarks by Mr Thomas Jordan, Chairman of the Governing Board of the Swiss National Bank, at the 113th Ordinary General Meeting of Shareholders of the Swiss National Bank, Zurich, 30 April 2021.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
30 April 2021

Madam President of the Bank Council
Dear Shareholders
Dear Guests

A warm welcome to you all to our Annual General Meeting. The pandemic has brought great suffering for many people. At the same time, coronavirus has posed unexpected challenges for the economy and politics in Switzerland. It has also placed a heavy burden on the finances of many households and companies, and on the public sector as well. Our sympathy goes to all those who have been affected by the disease or have lost people dear to them. From a professional perspective, our efforts are focused on the contribution that the Swiss National Bank can make within its mandate towards reducing the economic impact of the pandemic on our country.

In the past months, we have used every means at our disposal to perform our mandate as well as we possibly can, even in adverse circumstances. Our policy is aimed at helping the people in Switzerland to get through these difficult times. By curbing the strong upward pressure on the Swiss franc through extensive foreign exchange market interventions, and by providing financing for COVID-19 loans on favourable terms via our new SNB COVID-19 refinancing facility, we have made an important contribution to stabilising the Swiss economy in this once-in-a-century crisis.

Nevertheless, we are still frequently confronted with demands that the SNB should do more. And what is meant by 'more' is above all increased distributions. I would therefore like to use my speech today to discuss the SNB's profit distributions.