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Small private banks said to face bleak future

Advisory and audit firm KPMG has warned of growing pressure on small private banks in Switzerland facing an increasingly difficult economic outlook.

Financial expert Daniel Senn said up to 15 banks had to act swiftly before it is too late as the costs for information technology and security – as well as for new clients – are growing.

He said the strong Swiss franc and the tax row with the United States were adding to the difficulties.

Nearly one in three private banks has no strategy for the next five years to tackle the issue of tax compatible assets, according to a study by St Gallen University.

The latest KPMG survey was published less than two weeks after the oldest private bank in Switzerland, Wegelin, was sold following pressure from the US tax authority.

Last November the Sarasin private bank was taken over by the Brazilian Safra group.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR