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New capital requirements for Swiss banks will slow growth at UBS, says finance minister


Switzerland’s largest bank will have to hold more capital if the regulatory package, announced on Wednesday to prevent a repeat of the collapse of Credit Suisse, is implemented, Karin Keller-Sutter told Aargauer Zeitung.

“In short, growth will become more expensive,” she said.

The proposed changes target the country’s four largest banks with 22 measures and more than 200 pages of recommendations on how to police those deemed “too big to fail” (TBTF).

The government aims to put the measures into effect quickly and present two packages for implementation in the first half of 2025.

Of the measures, Keller-Sutter highlighted the proposal to change how Swiss parent companies of UBS and the country’s other systemic banks must in future back their foreign holdings with up to 100% equity, up from 60% at present.

“If we adjust this regulation now, it will have consequences for the growth and size of UBS,” she said.

The requirement would also make it easier to deal with authorities abroad in the event of a crisis, she added.

According to an analyst estimate UBS might need to retain $10 billion to $15 billion in excess capital, compared to what it currently holds.

In the interview, Keller-Sutter again criticised UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti’s pay package, which last year amounted to 14.4 million Swiss francs ($15.75 million).

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A UBS logo is seen next to Credit Suisse at the Bahnhofstrasse before a news conference of Swiss bank UBS in Zurich Switzerland, August 30, 2023.  REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

“UBS is harming itself in this way,” she said.

($1 = 0.9140 Swiss francs)

Salesforce is in advanced talks to buy Informatica, WSJ reports


The price of the deal being discussed is below Informatica’s current stock price of $38.48, which is a potential complication factor, the Journal said.

Salesforce and Informatica did not immediately respond to a Reuters’ request for comment.

Informatica, based out of Redwood (NYSE:RWT) city, California, is a cloud management company and has a market capitalization of about $11.35 billion.

In early 2023, Salesforce had become a target for activist investors to push for changes resulting in cost cuts, increased share buybacks and a dismantled mergers and acquisition committee.

San Francisco based Salesforce has historically had a keen interest in deals and investments.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Salesforce logo is seen near computer motherboard in this illustration taken January 8, 2024. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

The customer relationship management technology provider last month led a $106 million funding round for Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) backed Together AI.

Salesforce in 2020 acquired workplace messaging app Slack Technologies (NYSE:WORK) in a $27.7 billion deal, which is the cloud-computing pioneer’s largest acquisition.

US lawmakers angry after Huawei unveils laptop with new Intel AI chip


The United States placed Huawei on a trade restriction list in 2019 over sanctions violations related to Iran, part of a broader effort to hobble Beijing’s technological advances.

Placement on the list means the company’s U.S. suppliers have to seek a special, difficult-to-obtain license before shipping to it.

One such license, issued by the Trump administration, has allowed Intel to ship central processors to Huawei for use in laptops since 2020. China hardliners had urged the Biden administration to revoke that license, but there was acceptance by many that it would expire later this year and not be renewed.

Huawei’s unveiling Thursday of its first AI-enabled laptop, the MateBook X Pro powered by Intel’s new Core Ultra 9 processor, shocked and angered them, because it suggested to them that the Commerce Department had approved shipments of the new chip to Huawei.

Republican Representative Elise Stefanik said in a post on social media platform X that the laptop “makes it clear” that the Commerce Department gave a greenlight to shipments to Huawei of the new chip.

“It is unacceptable that the Biden Administration is actively working to undermine U.S. national security by allowing our greatest strategic adversary access to cutting edge American technology,” Stefanik said.

The Commerce Department declined to comment. Huawei and Intel did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man walks past the Intel logo at its booth during the first China International Supply Chain Expo (CISCE) in Beijing, China November 28, 2023. REUTERS/Florence Lo/File Photo

Another Republican representative, Michael McCaul, echoed Stefanik’s comments in an emailed statement to Reuters. “These approvals must stop,” he said. “Two years ago, I was told licenses to Huawei would stop. Today, it doesn’t seem as though the policy has changed.”

A source familiar with the matter said the chips were shipped under an existing license. They are not covered by recent broad-cased restrictions on AI chip shipments to China, the source and another person said.

Tesla cuts Full Self-Driving subscription prices in US, Canada


The subscriptions will be priced at $99 per month in the U.S. and C$99 ($71.88) in Canada, the electric vehicle maker said in a post on X.

Musk has long touted the FSD technology as a potential cash cow for the company, but has failed to keep his promise of a fully autonomous driving experience, amid stiff regulatory and legal scrutiny of Tesla’s safety and marketing.

The software, which Tesla says does not make its vehicles autonomous and requires active driver supervision, had earlier been offered at a subscription of $199 a month.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Tesla car is seen in Santa Monica, California, United States, October 23, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

Last month, Tesla said it will give a one-month trial of the driver-assist technology to existing and new customers in the U.S.

($1 = 1.3772 Canadian dollars)

SAG-AFTRA union secures AI protections for artists in deal with major record labels


The deal covers the five-year period from 2021 to 2026 and has been unanimously approved by the executive committee of SAG-AFTRA, which represents roughly 160,000 actors and other media professionals, the union said in a statement on its website.

AI has emerged as a big concern in the entertainment industry and the issue was at the center of talks between SAG-AFTRA and major studios last year, which finally culminated in a contract in November after a months-long strike.

The music industry is especially grappling with songs created by generative AI — a technology that makes it easy for internet users to mimic artists’ voices, often without their consent.

The SAG-AFTRA union said the tentative deal with the record labels requires both consent and compensation before a song is released that uses a digital replica of an artist’s voice.

It added the terms “artist”, “singer” and “royalty artist” could only refer to humans under the agreement.

“This agreement ensures that our members are protected. While technology can enhance the creative process, the essence of music must always be rooted in genuine human expression and experience,” said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Actors, writers and other union members join SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikers in a picket line in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., August 22, 2023. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

Other highlights of the agreement include improvements in health and retirement options and an increase in the percentage of streaming revenue to be covered by contributions.

A final ratification vote by members is expected to take place in the next few weeks.