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The Globe and Mail

Switzerland seeks power to split big banks

The Swiss central bank called yesterday for powers to break up its biggest banks, joining London and Washington in an uphill battle to compel financial firms to adopt practices to protect themselves and investors in times of crisis. The Swiss National Bank said in a report that Switzerland might have to create rules to split off parts of its dominant banks, UBS AG and Credit Suisse Group, if the economy worsened. The two hold over $3-trillion (U.S.) in liabilities - six times the country's gross domestic product. "The state of the Swiss and international financial system is - and remains - vulnerable over all," SNB vice-chairman Philipp Hildebrand said in Berne.

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