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Tarnished image Scandals damaged Swiss business reputation in 2018

Three PostBuses

Shady business: state-owned PostBus pocketed millions in federal and cantonal subsidies

(Keystone)

Switzerland’s reputation as a place to do business took a serious hit last year following various scandals, from corporate bank fraud to illegal subsidies. 

The Swiss Economy Reputation Index 2018external link, published on Tuesday by Basel-based consultancy Commslab and the fög research institute at the University of Zurich, dropped for the fifth consecutive quarter, reaching its lowest level since July 2014. 

This deterioration was due to real-world as well as fiscal developments, Commslab said in a statementexternal link. The considerable damage done to the Swiss financial sector resulted above all from the Raiffeisen scandal, in which the bank’s former boss is facing criminal proceedings for suspected corporate fraud. 

However, recent legal woes for UBS in France and the United States didn’t help, the authors said. 

State-owned PostBus, known for its alpine network of distinctive yellow buses, came under intense scrutiny after an audit found it had manipulated accounts between 2007 and 2015 to pocket millions in federal and cantonal subsidies. This led to the resignation of the entire PostBus top management, the CEO of Swiss Post and several members of the board. 

Regarding individual sectors, insurers and life science companies enjoyed the best reputations, improving their already-good names; constructors and the media also saw their reputational stock rise. 

At the other end of the index were banks and at the very bottom, by some distance, transport/logistics companies. 

For the index, researchers looked at around 14,800 reputationally relevant media reports involving 138 companies in 18 sectors.


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