Market Overview

Hildebrand Dropped in the Toilet by Wife


Philipp Hildebrand has been forced to resign as head of the Swiss Central Bank (SNBC) after his wife bought some dollars on the cheap, in the process denting the credibility of her husband.

Presumably, tensions are high in the Hildebrand home right now. According to Bloomberg, Kashya Hildebrand bought dollars because the currency was “at a record low and almost ridiculously cheap.”

Hildebrand informed the SNB the following day when he realized his missus' gaff, and later donated currency profits to charity. Still, lawmakers have been calling for his head ever since.

According to the Bloomberg article, “Pressure on Hildebrand to resign increased after media reported his family may have used insider knowledge to its advantage. While an internal investigation cleared him of wrongdoing, the purchase of $504,000 by his wife in August, three weeks before the SNB imposed a currency cap, was found “sensitive.” Economists at VTB Capital and Swissquote Bank SA said his departure will leave investors testing the franc cap.”

“The market will now be questioning whether the credibility of the euro-franc 1.20 floor is in jeopardy,” said Peter Rosenstreich, chief currency analyst at Swissquote in Geneva, to Bloomberg. “Any serious threat to the floor will be immediately met with an aggressive response.”

Friday saw the Swiss currency traded at 1.2138 versus the euro at 2:46 p.m. in Zurich.

Current SNB Deputy Chairman Thomas Jordan is seen as Hildebrand's natural successor. “Jordan is the likely replacement for the top job,” Geoffrey Kendrick, head of European currency strategy at Nomura International in London, said in an e-mailed note. “This will leave a replacement role needed for a third position on the board. This is very likely to be an internal candidate.”

According to Bloomberg, “Hildebrand's “departure was inevitable but it's left a vacuum at the SNB,” said Neil MacKinnon, global macro strategist at VTB Capital in London. “It's unfortunate but his position was untenable. Markets will be looking at the SNB to carry on as normal.”


Traders who believe that the franc will recover might want to consider the following trades:
  • Anything in Europe, particularly Switzerland.
Traders who believe that this will only compound the euro woes may consider alternative positions:
  • stick to domestic trades
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