Switzerland’s banks are in “solid shape” despite shedding slightly more than 1,000 jobs last year, the industry’s lobby group said on Thursday.
The Swiss Bankers Association (SBA), in a statementexternal link, cited the “challenging national and international environment” for the industry. The number of Swiss banks decreased to 266, down from 275, in 2015. Despite that, it said, their collective operating net income rose by 5% to CHF64.6 billion on the year.
Eight of the nine banks lost last year were foreign-controlled. Domestic customer assets rose by 2.3% to CHF 74.3 billion, while foreign customer assets fell 4.8% to CHF162.5 billion.
“With a 25 percent market share, the Swiss banking sector remains the undisputed leader in cross-border asset management,” the SBA said.
The number of full-time staff in Switzerland fell by 1,012 jobs, or 1%, down to 103,041 last year. A recent survey found that the pace of losses accelerated in the first half of 2016 – there were 3,454 fewer banking jobs in the country, a decline of 4.1%.
“In contrast, the Swiss banks hired a net total of over 6,700 people abroad,” the SBA said. “The outlook for the employment trend for the rest of the year is stable."
Some of the reasons cited for the job losses in 2015 were low interest rates, strong competition and regulations driving up costs.
Martin Hess, chief economist at the SBA, said that securing European Union market access “remains essential for future growth”. He said the current trend is for Swiss banks to build up staff levels broad, which should be reserved partly through cost-efficient regulation.
swissinfo,ch and agencies