The Swiss lower house of Parliament has ratified the UBS agreement with a not-unexpected twist — the possibility of a nationwide referendum is still alive. The referendum would give the Swiss voters the power to ratify or reject the UBS agreement.
This is one step closer, but the situation is not final yet. Only when there is no possibility of a referendum will the United States be in a position to receive names of UBS customers. But I think it is as good as final.
It appears to me that the opposition is playing for political concessions at this stage. Everything will be final by this Friday, and I would be surprised to hear an announcement of a national referendum. The Swiss People’s Party can bark but it cannot bite.
I think the game is over, and any U.S. customer of UBS who had hopes of his/her name being protected can expect to live in the Pain Factory for a little while.