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Swiss banking sector overview

Switzerland is world famous for its banks and blooming economy having a GDP higher than in most of the Western European countries. Also, the price of the Swiss franc (CHF) was quite stable in comparison to other currencies. In year 2009, the financial sector of Switzerland have contributed around 11.6% of total gross domestic product and employed almost 195,000 employees (136,000 of which are employed in the banking sector specifically), which is almost 6% of the overall Swiss labour force. In addition to that, Swiss banks employ roughly 103,000 employees in other countries.

Today roughly thirty three percent of total global funds are being kept outside of originating state (also known as offshore assets), which are kept in Swiss banks and financial institutions. Back in year 2001, Swiss banks have managed a great total of 2.6 trillion United States dollars net worth.

Privacy policy of the Swiss banks

The Banking Law of 1934 has turned into a criminal offence for a Swiss bank to disclose information about an account holder. Swiss bank discretion policy guarantees the secrecy of bank customers. The anonymity guaranteed by Swiss laws resembles in its nature confidentiality protection level between doctors and patients or attorneys and their clients.

The Swiss authorities recognize the right to secrecy as a core principle that must be secured by any democratic state. While secrecy is guaranteed all bank accounts are connected to an identified individual, also known as ultimate beneficiary. It should also be pointed out that even the bank privacy principle isn’t absolute per se: a prosecutor or a judge is entitled to issue a legal order granting right to apply legally enforced access to bank data essential for leading an investigation.

However, everything changed on the 27th of May year 2015, when Swiss authorities have signed an agreement with the EU officials. The latter agreement has aligned bank practices of the Swiss banks and financial institutions with common European requirements and standards, which, as a result, has ended the privacy policy that EU-resident customers of Swiss banks had been enjoying lately. According to the provision of the agreement, both parties involved: Switzerland and European Union member states, shall automatically exchange information on the bank accounts of one another's residents starting from year 2018.

Asset management industry in Switzerland

Asset management is a rapidly developing business in Switzerland. In order to make sure that the Swiss financial centre does actually prosper and benefit from this development, several local banking and financial associations have developed the Asset Management Platform Switzerland. This platform fulfills the duties previously carried out by the Asset Management Initiative, which was started back in year 2012. The ultimate goal of the platform is to make Switzerland an appealing, global level destination for asset management purposes.

Asset management in Switzerland is going to be improved into one of the leading forces of the Swiss financial centre. Asset management industry is going to be recognized globally for high levels of trust and quality. The aforementioned platform is going to be used in order to develop asset management in Switzerland as strategic industry. As a result, the Swiss financial centre shall become diversified, as already existing guidelines of business will be re-introduced and industries that are receding shall be compensated for. Also, for the private client business and customer-focused investment banking, asset management is going to turn into a full-scale supporting pillar of the financial centre and Swiss economy as whole.

Swiss banks

As of beginning of year 2008, on the territory of Switzerland there are 327 incorporated and authorized banks and securities dealers. Companies on this list widely range and include the Two Big Banks as well as numerous smaller banks. Click here to view our Swiss banks catalogue.