The Swiss Bankers Association has been a firm fixture in Swiss politics for over 100 years. We take our responsibility with respect to Switzerland’s system of direct democracy seriously and support a strong culture of citizens’ engagement in political life.
As the leading industry association of the Swiss financial centre, the SBA understands the value of the Confederation’s political system. It plays a decisive role in the proper functioning of our democracy, in social stability and in our country’s prosperity.
This success rests on wide-ranging citizens’ rights and a popular willingness to take on public offices and duties under what Switzerland calls the “militia” system, helping to ensure that politics and civil society do not become estranged from each other. This allows the knowledge and hands-on experience of the population at large to feed into political decision-making and so create an environment in which the economy can flourish.
If Switzerland’s success story is to be maintained, as many people as possible need to be politically engaged. The SBA helps in various ways to underscore the importance of favourable conditions for the financial centre and for popular engagement in order to consolidate Switzerland’s success for the long term.
Swiss Banking Politforum
Some 1,500 bank staff are actively involved in politics at all levels throughout Switzerland. The SBA’s networking event is a way of thanking them for their dedication.
The future of the system
Switzerland’s political “militia” system relies on many people in our country playing their part. The SBA works in partnership with selected projects aiming to contribute to the system’s longevity in specific ways.
The Swiss Parliament
The SBA makes the sector’s expertise available to the members of the federal government’s Councils to assist in their legislative efforts. It also supports the groups represented in the Swiss Parliament financially with an annual contribution.
Unlike other countries, Switzerland has no professional parliamentarians, so industry associations have an important role to play. They provide political decision-makers with specialist expertise and the industries’ opinions on key issues, helping them to gauge the risks and opportunities associated with their decisions. This enables our political leaders to make informed, balanced decisions in the public interest.
The semi-professional parliamentary system also means that Switzerland’s political parties are not state-funded, but politics does of course require financial resources in order to function. The SBA provides all parliamentary groups represented on the federal government’s Councils with an annual funding contribution in support of the system. These contributions do not come with any conditions attached. They are intended to ensure the proper functioning of Switzerland’s parties at the federal level.
Access to information is essential for making decisions geared to the long term in a democracy such as ours in which a great deal of importance is attached to citizens’ rights. The SBA makes sure that the banks’ voice is heard in every referendum that concerns the Swiss financial centre.
The direct involvement of the population in political decision-making is a source of pride for our country. Citizens’ rights prevent alienation between politicians and the people they govern, build trust in institutions and foster prosperity.
Voters need to be able to understand the impact their vote might have. Interest groups such as industry associations can play a part in public opinion-forming by explaining the potential implications of political decisions for a particular industry and thus for our country’s prosperity. The SBA does this by conveying the banks’ views on federal referendums that concern the Swiss financial centre.