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Bankers appeal to counter secrecy fallout

Private bankers have called for action to counter potential changes in the finance market arising from the government's decision to modify its banking secrecy laws.

The changes could lead numerous clients to move their business elsewhere and may constitute a serious shortfall for the sector, the Swiss Private Bankers Association said on Tuesday.

"The new policies of cooperation on tax issues will, to a certain degree, deprive our financial centre of a significant competitive advantage," it said.

It is essential that Switzerland acts quickly to adopt new tax and legal measures to restore its competitiveness, the association urged. Failure to do so will cause "the entire country to pay the price".

According to estimates from the finance ministry the industry would lose SFr14.5 billion ($12.3 billion) if all its clients living abroad were to go elsewhere.

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