For any general inquiries, please fill in the following contact form:

Our websites never use cookies or other technologies such as pixel tags and web beacons. We only retain personal information when the contact section of our websites is filled. To proceed and get in touch with us through this format please read our Terms & Conditions, updated to be in line with the provisions of the GDPR, and tick this box to consent in us retaining the above information for contacting purposes only.


Geneva banks, stung by tax evasion crackdown, see rosier 2018

Geneva banks, stung by tax evasion crackdown, see rosier 2018

By Reuters Staff

GENEVA (Reuters) - Geneva’s financial sector is turning more positive after its fears about 2017 turned out to be overdone, an annual survey by the Swiss city’s banking association showed on Tuesday. 

Half of Geneva’s big banks - those with over 200 employees - expect net profits to rise in 2018, the Geneva Financial Center said. And although 18 percent see profits falling by up to 7 percent, the same number expect growth of 15 percent or more. One in four foresaw little change.

That marks a turnaround from the same survey last year, when 8 percent of Geneva’s big banks, which include Pictet Group and Lombard Odier, anticipated a profit slump of at least 15 percent in 2017, and none foresaw profit growing by more than 7 percent.

After the global financial crisis, Switzerland faced allegations of complicity in tax evasion and avoidance that risked turning the country into an international pariah and tarnished its renowned banking sector.

The fallout culled Geneva’s banks - there are now 104, 25 percent fewer than in 2011 - and the sector has pushed for regulatory reforms to ensure it can compete internationally, along with the rest of Switzerland, which is perennially ranked the world’s most competitive economy.

“Competitiveness, talent and innovation are what keep the Geneva financial sector’s heart beating,” Yves Mirabaud, president of the Geneva Financial Center, told a news conference. 

“It makes sense to reinforce them with the best policy framework possible,” said Mirabaud, who is also senior managing partner at Mirabaud, a Geneva-based private bank.

To stay competitive, the financial sector needs access to the European Union market, a tailored regulatory regime in line with international standards, and attractive rules with a high degree of predictability and legal certainty, he said. 

New financial regulations will come into force by 2019, after a “chaotic start” in 2015, Mirabaud said, while the outline of a new corporate tax law is expected later this year, after Swiss voters rejected a previous plan in February.

Many questions also needed resolving with the EU, although the survey showed Luxembourg had increased its popularity as the best potential alternative to Geneva, with London’s appeal almost wiped out amid uncertainty over Brexit.

Asked about the outlook for 2018, 45 percent of big banks said it would be “good”, with the rest split between “difficult” and “stable”. A year ago, only 8 percent were positive about the outlook, with 42 percent anticipating a “difficult” 2017.

Those fears broadly failed to materialize, with 46 percent now calling 2017 “good” and 9 percent “very good”. 

Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Mark Potter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


Deutsche Bank faces action over $20bn Russian money-laundering scheme

Deutsche Bank faces action over $20bn Russian money-laundering scheme
Germany’s troubled Deutsche Bank faces fines, legal action and the possible prosecution of “senior management” because of its role...

EU gives 'high-level' protection to whistleblowers

EU gives 'high-level' protection to whistleblowers
Whistleblowers across the European Union have won greater protection under landmark legislation aimed at encouraging reports of wrongdoing....

New Offshore Tax Avoidance Warning As Data Sharing Starts

New Offshore Tax Avoidance Warning As Data Sharing Starts
The net is closing on expats and taxpayers with offshore accounts and investments who have not declared their interests to the tax man. ...

Who's behind the blog

Who's behind the blog