The sector of services is considered to be the tertiary sector in Switzerland, with more than 72% of the country’s output produced in this industry and more than 50% of the population employed. As for the present time, the financial industry alone amounts to more than 5% of the country’s overall GDP, making it one of the largest industries in the sector of services in Switzerland. The Swiss banking industry employs more than 136,000 people within the country.
There are two defined giants of this industry in Switzerland: UBS and Credit Suisse, and their assets amount to $941 billion and $909 billion accordingly. Apart from employing so many people within the country, the Swiss banks also employ over 100,000 workers abroad.
There are two reasons explaining why the Swiss banking industry occupies that much important place in the country’s economy: Switzerland’s neutrality during the last few centuries and the tradition of bank secrecy in the country. The neutrality of Switzerland during such a prolonged period of time – and especially during the world wars – have helped its banking industry to gain a reputation of a safe harbor. The same stands for the tradition of bank secrecy, which, however, was used by many people with the purpose of tax evasion. In 2009, however, the Swiss authorities agreed to give up the information about those who are suspected of tax evasion and other crimes, which slightly shattered the industry.
A hot spot for professional bankers
All the written above makes the country to be one of the most important in Europe for the financial industry, behind only the UK (and particularly, the city of London) and Germany (and particularly, the city of Frankfurt). Geneva and Zurich, actually, attract bankers from all over the Europe.
Even though the share of the Swiss banking industry in the country’s output is shrinking, you can find a job in middle-sized banks or regulators like BIS
Yet, keep in mind that the majority of firms in Switzerland (a rough number of 99%) are small and middle-sized. So if you could not find a job at Credit Suisse or UBS, it does not mean that you shouldn’t try to get employed at a middle-sized bank based in Zurich and Geneva: doing so opens up great opportunities, as well.
In addition to that, the Swiss banking industry is represented not solely by private companies. Important international organizations and institutions are also crucial for the country, since some of them are headquartered in Switzerland. For example, we recommend you to pay a particular attention to the Bank for International Settlements or its division, which is well-known in the financial world, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. There, in particular, you can start or continue your career in the banking sphere, yet the BIS is located in Basel.
Regulations of the Swiss banking industry
The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, also known as simply FINMA, is responsible for regulating the financial markets in Switzerland, including the banking industry, insurers, stock exchanges, traders and dealers, and all other financial intermediaries who work or/and perform transaction in Switzerland. Legally, this institution is independent and is accountable only to the Swiss parliament. The FINMA is headquartered in Bern, the country’s capital.
Finding a job in the Swiss banking industry
We recommend you to check the following websites: