Finance experts warn that banks will face problems

Difficult relations with the EU may hurt business of Switzerland's financial services providers, experts warn Keystone

Experts are urging the government to start or continue bilateral talks with the European Union, as well as individual countries within and outside the EU, to make sure that Swiss banks will keep access to important financial markets abroad.

This content was published on May 1, 2014 - 17:21 and agencies

A group of experts, led by Aymo Brunetti, a professor for Economic Policy and Regional Economics at the University of Bern, considers market access a priority for Swiss financial services providers in terms of timing and content, the State Secretariat for International Financial Matters SIF said on Thursday.

“Without immediate discussions on this matter with partner countries within and outside the EU and with the EU itself as well as an active search for solutions, experts expect access to important overseas markets to deteriorate,” SIF said in a statement.

The expert commission, which expects to conclude its studies by the end of the year, said Switzerland should also analyse the pros and cons of a financial services agreement with the EU. It may also be able to discuss market access within the framework of a transition to the automatic exchange of information in tax matters, SIF said.

The announcement follows a warning from State Secretary Jacques de Watteville who had already said in February that it will become difficult for Swiss banks to offer services in EU countries after a reintroduction of immigration quotas blocked bilateral relations between Switzerland and Brussels.

The cabinet, which discussed the commission’s recommendations at a meeting on Wednesday, will take them into account when continuing to implement its financial strategy, SIF said on Thursday.

In December, finance minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf announced that Switzerland is ready to negotiate savings taxes with the EU if the union at the same time guarantees that Swiss financial services providers will have access to EU markets.

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