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Top Swiss firms become more transparent

Shareholders' rights were among the concerns voiced by Ethos Keystone

The majority of Switzerland’s leading companies satisfy transparency criteria set by the Swiss stock exchange (SWX), a study has found.

The report by Geneva-based funds manager, Ethos, says corporate governance has improved among many firms in the past year, but all businesses could do better.

The survey into the country’s top 100 firms considered two criteria: whether the workings of the companies were transparent, and if they used best-practice guidelines set by the SWX.

Top of the class for the second time was UBS. It was followed closely by insurance firms Converium, Swiss Re and Zurich Financial Services, and banking group Credit Suisse.


Ethos said that certain companies that were bottom of the table last year – such as EMS Chemie, formerly owned by Swiss Justice Minister Christoph Blocher – had fared much better this year.

The average number of points rose from 85.1 to 93.1, with the size of the company proportionate to the level of transparency. The larger the company, the more transparent it was likely to be.

The authors found that transparency was lacking in just two companies. Last year, the total was 29.

However, Ethos warned companies against resting on their laurels, saying there was still much work to be done.

In particular, it found that areas such as communication policy, the composition of corporate boards and the rights of shareholders could be improved further.

swissinfo with agencies

Ethos carried out its first study in 2003.
The results were compiled from the answers the companies provided in a questionnaire.
The rankings are designed to help shareholders interested in corporate governance.

Funds manager, Ethos, has published its annual study on Switzerland’s top 100 companies.

It assessed whether the firms adhered to corporate governance guidelines set by the Swiss stock exchange.

Big bank UBS came top of the list.

Many companies fared better than last year but Ethos said all firms could do much better.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR