Swiss eye asset management opportunity in Brexit

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Swiss government report setting out its strategic direction for the country’s financial services industry reveals it is eyeing up chances to compete with London in cross-border asset management once the UK exits the European Union.

“Although the financial centres of Switzerland and the UK are closely linked, they also compete against each other,” the Federal Department of Finance revealed in a section specifically devoted to Brexit in the report.

“While asset management and investment banking are well-established strengths of London’s financial centre and are likely to remain so, Switzerland can build on its strong position in the area of cross-border asset management.”

However, the report also warned of “considerable legal uncertainty” in the short to medium term for Swiss financial service providers in the UK and cross-border financial services to the UK.

It predicted “in principle” the UK could negotiate a bilateral agreement for financial services to remain in the EU single market. Alternatively, it stated the UK could seek equivalence.

The report stated that a stable and competitive financial sector was a “mainstay of the Swiss economy”.

The Government strategy aims to prioritise “legal certainty, predictability and continuity” as it focuses on market access, innovation, regulatory reform, limiting systemic risk and ensuring international compliance in money laundering and taxation.