The Swiss financial sector: an important employer and taxpayer
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, banks and insurance companies have continued to conduct their business activities while complying with all health measures, thus contributing to the stabilisation of the economy. The banks are well-capitalized, and were therefore able to provide direct support to SMEs that faced liquidity issues through the SME loan programme. Over 120 banks participated in this programme.
Despite the challenges it has faced in recent years, the financial sector remains one of the most important pillars of the Swiss economy. In 2019, the sector generated total gross value added of CHF 88.1 billion, which corresponds to 12.5% or one-eighth of domestic economic output. Banks and insurance companies accounted for CHF 70.5 billion of this value added. By sourcing advance services from companies along the upstream value chain and through consumer spending by employees, the financial sector also generated indirect effects of CHF 17.6 billion in other sectors. In terms of employment, around 345,400 or 8.2% of all jobs in Switzerland are directly or indirectly dependent on the financial sector.
The activities of the financial sector also contribute significantly to Switzerland’s tax revenues. In 2019, the taxes levied by the federal government, cantons and municipalities that were directly or indirectly related to the financial sector amounted to an estimated total of CHF 19.3 billion. This corresponds to 12.7% of total tax revenues.
In addition to its importance in quantitative terms, the financial sector is fundamental for the efficient and effective functioning of the Swiss economy. In their role as intermediaries, banks and insurance companies facilitate many activities, for example by financing investments or hedging risks. Further to this, financial intermediaries perform functions that are indispensable in a modern economy, such as processing payment transactions and capital accumulation. A competitive, healthy and prosperous financial centre is therefore in the interests of the entire Swiss economy.