Importance of the Swiss Financial Centre

Jean-Pierre Roth, Chairman of the Governing Board

81st Congress of the Organisation for Swiss Abroad, Crans-Montana, 30.08.2003

The activities of the Swiss financial centre are closely linked with the development of the Swiss economy as a whole. There are a number of reasons why Switzerland has always been predestined – by virtue of its comparative advantages – to be a supplier of financial services: it has a tradition of political and monetary stability, a tradition of respecting people’s privacy and maintaining discretion, and a reputation for quality.

The banking and insurance sector has become one of our country’s largest sources of income. Within the banking field, asset management is the principal activity.

In rendering financial services – as in the production of any other goods or services – Switzerland is subject to stiff international competition. It fully accepts this situation: there is no guarantee that the relatively strong position it has built for itself will be maintained. It will only retain this position by paying due attention to its operating environment, by steadily expanding its expertise and by reinforcing confidence in the soundness and probity of its financial centre.

This task requires efforts by all parties: the financial institutions must be committed to continually adapting their services to the realities of the marketplace ; and the authorities must pursue a determined policy of closely monitoring the soundness and integrity of the financial centre in a world dominated by the free circulation of capital.