Ex-Swiss central bank head joins Oxford Uni

Philipp Hildebrand, who quit as head of the Swiss central bank amid a scandal, is to become a senior visiting fellow at Britain's prestigious Oxford University, his school said on Wednesday.

Ex-Swiss central bank head joins Oxford Uni
Blavatnik School

Hildebrand, who stepped down in January after being caught up in a scandal over foreign exchange trades done by his wife, will be joining the new Blavatnik School of Government.

“We look forward to Dr Hildebrand’s advice and guidance in the school and in particular in helping us shape research with a practical edge,” said Professor Ngaire Woods, the school’s dean.

“Dr Hildebrand brings a rich experience not just of government and financial markets, but also of research and teaching. We are delighted he will be joining the school.”

The Blavatnik School was founded in 2010 and will be admitting its first 30 students in September.

Press reports had alleged that Hildebrand’s wife Kashya profited after buying $504,000 last August.

The trade was done just weeks before an intervention by the Swiss National Bank to halt the rise of the franc — a move that saw the dollar rise significantly against the Swiss currency.

Hildebrand has a doctorate in international relations from Oxford and is an honorary fellow of the university’s Lincoln College.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Why is the demand for 1,000-franc banknotes growing in Switzerland?

Large-denomination banknotes, like the 1,000-franc note, are rarely used for everyday transactions in Switzerland. So why are they becoming more popular?

Why is the demand for 1,000-franc banknotes growing in Switzerland?
The kind of banknotes the Swiss like to stash away. Photo by AFP

The demand for 1,000-franc notes has risen in the past months, data from the Swiss National Bank (SNB) indicates.

CHF1,000 converts to approximately €925.75, £824,63 or $US1126.98. 

Whether withdrawing the money from an ATM machine or directly from a bank, customers request large-bill denominations more often than before.

“We do know there is more cash being currently withdrawn in large notes, but it changes hands less often” Sarah Lein, a monetary policy expert from the University of Basel told SRF public broadcaster.

This means the money is not being spent but stashed away.

“We can conclude that some large notes end up in a safe”, she added.

READ MORE: Switzerland’s economy forecast to recover 'from summer onwards' 

The reason, she said, is that many banks charge their customers negative interests on large deposits.

“Therefore, it could be cheaper to simply withdraw the cash in large notes and keep it in a safe, especially since inflation has been extremely low for a long time”, Lein added.

This is not unusual — in times of crisis, more cash is often in demand.

But could this cause the shortage of 1,000-franc bills?

That is not likely to happen, Lein pointed out.

“Both the central and commercial banks have enough cash stored in their vaults to meet such demand. So there is always enough money available”, she said.

There is about 48.6 billion francs floating around in the form of 1,000-franc notes, constituting 59 percent of all Swiss notes in circulation. 

It is the world’s second-largest denomination after Brunei's B$10,000 note.

READ MORE: What do people in Switzerland spend their money on?