“There’s no alternative to a growth-friendly economic policy”
The Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) dedicated this year’s Bankers Day in Neuchâtel to the topic of global debt and its consequences for governments, the economy and the financial markets. SBA Chairman Marcel Rohner said in his keynote speech that global debt, both private and public, has reached record-high levels. He noted that many national economies are also struggling with inflation, which ultimately leads to a deadlock: “The cost of inflation to society is high as savers suffer de facto expropriation, pensions are devalued, and large sections of the population are plunged into poverty. History has shown us where this leads.”
Raising awareness of a growth-oriented policy for Switzerland
Are there any alternatives? “Economic growth is one such alternative – growth that gives us an opportunity to pay down our debts,” said Rohner. While Switzerland is heavily dependent on developments in Europe and the US, he explained, it nevertheless has a great deal of freedom to shape its own frameworks. “A growth-friendly policy for promoting Switzerland and boosting its economy is the essential prerequisite for solving the problems that lie ahead, preserving our prosperity and covering the cost of our expenditure. There’s no alternative,” he stated emphatically.
Prudently seizing opportunities through innovation
Rohner urged the banks to take a cautious approach, pointing out that tried-and-tested principles are all the more important when inflation is on the rise. Financial solidity and sustainable cash flows are vital for a healthy lending business. Diversifying investment portfolios with substantial allocations to real assets is another way to preserve value over the long term. “We’re set to experience strong headwinds in the coming years, but pessimism won’t get us anywhere. The world will not stand still, and new opportunities will arise. If we act prudently, we can seize these through innovation,” Rohner concluded.
Marcel Rohner’s Bankers Day speech is available for download here.
Board of Directors election
This year’s Annual General Meeting was held in writing prior to Bankers Day and elected the entire Board of Directors for the term of office from 2022 to 2025. In addition to re-electing the existing members, it also appointed seven new members:
- Urs Baumann, CEO of Zürcher Kantonalbank
- Dr Renaud de Planta, Senior Managing Partner and Chairman of the Group Executive Committee of Pictet & Cie Group SCA
- Lukas Gähwiler, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of UBS Group AG & Vice-Chairman of the SBA
- Markus Gygax, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Valiant Holding AG
- Axel P. Lehmann, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Credit Suisse Group AG
- Anne Marion-Bouchacourt, Chief Country Officer of Société Générale Switzerland
- Daniel Salzmann, CEO of Luzerner Kantonalbank AG
Bankers Day 2022 in Neuchâtel