Switzerland is a prosperous nation with a gross domestic product (GDP) higher than that of most western European nations. In addition, the value of the Swiss franc (CHF) has been relatively stable compared with that of other currencies In 2009, the financial sector comprised 11.6% of Switzerland's GDP and employed approximately 195,000 people (136,000 of whom work in the banking sector); this represents about 5.6% of the total Swiss workforce. Furthermore, Swiss banks employ an estimated 103,000 people abroad.
Swiss neutrality and national souveranity, long recognized by foreign nations, have fostered a stable environment in which the banking sector was able to develop and thrive.
Switzerland has maintained neutrality through both World Wars, is not a member of the European Union, and was not even a member of the United Nations until 2002.
Currently an estimated one-third of all funds held outside the country of origin (sometimes called "offshore" funds) are kept in Switzerland. In 2001 Swiss banks managed USD 2.6 trillion. The following year they handled $400 billion USD less which has been attributed to both a bear market and stricter regulations on Swiss banking. By 2007 this figure has risen to roughly 6.7 trillion Swiss francs (US$6.4 trillion).
The Bank of International Settlements, an organization that facilitates cooperation among the world's central banks, is headquartered in the city of Basel. Founded in 1930, the BIS chose to locate in Switzerland because of the country's neutrality, which was important to an organization founded by countries that had been on both sides of World War.
Foreign banks operating in Switzerland manage 870 billion Swiss francs worth of assets (as of May 2006).
Law and regulation
The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) is a public law institution that supervises most banking-related
activities as well as securities markets and investments funds Regulatory authority is derived from the Swiss Financial Market Supervision Act (FINMA) and Article 98 of the Swiss Federal Constitution.
The office of the Swiss Banking Ombudsman founded in 1993, is sponsored by the Swiss Banking Ombudsman Foundation, which was established by the Swiss Bankers Association. The ombudsman's services, which are offered free of charge, include mediation and assistance to persons searching for dormant assets. The ombudsman handles about 1,500 complaints raised against banks yearly.
- The Confederation
- Local Autorities
- When to visit Switzerland
- Cost of living
- The region of Basel >
- The region of Central Switzerland >
- The region of Geneva-Lausanne >
The region Ticino
- The region of Bern >
- The Region of St. Gallen and the Bodensee >
- The region of Zürich >