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Swiss stock exchange to cut jobs

The Swiss stock exchange wants to save SFr20 million a year

(Keystone)

The Swiss stock exchange (SWX) has announced 50 to 70 job cuts as part of savings in operating costs of 7.5 per cent, amounting to SFr20 ($15.7) million.

The board of directors at SWX said the rise in costs had outpaced revenue growth in recent years leading to a need for restructuring.

Those losing their jobs will be informed in early October. They will be offered a "fair and generous severance package", the SWX Group announced.

Finance specialists, lawyers and computer technicians at Europe's fifth largest stock exchange will all be affected by the cuts. SWX employed 467 people at the end of 2004.

Jürg Spillmann, head of the group executive committee at SWX, said that despite the current favourable financial situation the group had to be better prepared for a cyclical decline in the securities business.

"If the move were to be postponed, there would be an increased threat that the measures could coincide with a cyclical downturn and at worst no longer take hold in timely manner," he added.

Strategic move

The group said the planned restructuring would allow it "to achieve a size that is appropriate for implementing its corporate strategy".

In the first quarter of 2005, the Swiss stock exchange saw its turnover fall by 5.4 per cent compared with the same period last year.

In 2004, SWX reported a profit of SFr53.3 million, 26 per cent higher than the previous year, while turnover grew by four per cent.

The board of SWX rejected a merger offer with the German Deutsche Börse in 2004, fearing it would be disadvantageous to the Swiss exchange in the long term.

The SWX Swiss Exchange's range of business activities comprises the Swiss cash market, market information products, the development and operation of securities trading platforms, as well as the admission of securities to trading.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

Operating costs have outpaced growth in revenues in the core business of the SWX Group - cash market activities.

The SWX Group board of directors has decided that it must be better prepared for a cyclical downturn in the securities business.

SWX has adopted measures to achieve savings of SFr20 million in operating costs, equivalent to 7.5% of total annual costs.

The cutbacks will involve 50 to 70 job losses.

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