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CFO survey Financial officers’ outlook recovering after ‘Frankenshock’

The un-pegging of the Swiss franc from the Euro in January 2015 set off global stock market reactions dubbed by some as "Frankenshock"

(Keystone)

The majority of Swiss companies’ finance bosses are optimistic about the future of their firms for the first time since the franc was unpegged from the Euro, according to a survey from Deloitte that also shows renewed optimism about Switzerland’s economy. 

Some 53% of the chief financial officers (CFOs) questioned for the study said they had a positive outlook on their company’s financial future, while 12% remain pessimistic. Pessimism stood at 20% in a similar survey done last quarter. And, 40% of those surveyed expect their company’s capital expenditures and the number of employees to grow in the coming year. 

Overall prospects for the Swiss economy have also improved, with 45% of CFOs foreseeing a positive economic outlook compared to 31% in the summer of 2016. 

Looming uncertainty 

However, Deloitte notes in the study that “despite a slight improvement in confidence, CFOs continue to rate uncertainty in the economic and financial environment as high”. This is due to concerns about Switzerland’s interest rate and monetary policy, as well as geopolitical uncertainty tied to events such as the US elections and Britain’s exit from the European Union. 

More than 60% of those surveyed said they are experiencing effects of Switzerland’s negative interest rates, with 48% citing negative effects and 13% positive. 

The strength of the Swiss franc and the current regulatory environment also gave the surveyed financial bosses pause over prospects for the future, according to Deloitte. More CFOs expected profit margins to decrease than increase, at 31% and 24%, respectively. 

For its latest quarterly survey of chief financial officers, Deloitte surveyed 111 CFOs of companies based in Switzerland. 

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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