“The Swiss financial centre is highly competitive”

At the opening of this year’s Swiss International Finance Forum (SIFF) in Zurich, NZZ Economics Editor-in-Chief Peter A. Fischer and SBA Chairman Herbert J. Scheidt explored the current challenges faced by the Swiss financial centre in a global context.

Herbert J. Scheidt stressed the importance of the banking sector: “The Swiss financial centre is highly competitive and is performing extremely well,” said the Chairman of the Swiss Bankers Association. He went on to say that Switzerland’s banks are an important pillar of its national economy. This is not only because they provide jobs, pay taxes and drive economic growth, but more importantly also due to the fact that they are geared to the needs of clients ranging from private investors and foundations to pension funds and companies.

The SBA Chairman reiterated his position that greater focus should be placed on the stability of the financial centre in light of technological developments. He also spoke about cybercrime in the context of the digital transformation, calling for independent government agencies to be part of the defence apparatus so that suitable crisis organisations can be effectively set up. However, Scheidt also stated that cyber risks are not the only issue that requires particular attention, listing the national banks’ monetary policies and the geopolitical tensions between the superpowers of the US, Europe and China as other such issues. He believes that Switzerland’s role is to focus systematically on openness and interconnectedness as well as on two of the country’s values, namely security and stability.

Panel discussion on developments in the mortgage market

A panel discussion presented by the SBA also focused on stability, this time as an important value in Switzerland’s mortgage market. In addition to regulatory issues, the bank representatives discussed the importance of this business for financial institutions, the consequences of negative interest rates, market developments and other topics.

The NZZ Swiss International Finance Forum (SIFF) is an international platform for the Swiss financial centre launched in 2014 by Neue Zürcher Zeitung. This year marked the sixth instalment of the conference, featuring experts from Switzerland and abroad who discussed the challenges faced by and opportunities open to the financial centre. The Swiss Bankers Association and the Asset Management Platform are sponsorship partners of the event:

Panel discussion - from left to right: J. Häfelfinger, F. Hasenmaile, D. B. Sarasin, M. Neff, A. Martel  

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