When the world went into lockdown in March/ April 2020, everyone expected the worst for the economy: market crashes, sky-rocketing unemployment numbers and a wave of insolvencies. While it is safe to say that some countries struggled more than others, Switzerland weathered the crisis well, even exceeding pre-Covid-19 activity in some areas.
One of the wealthiest countries in the world, Switzerland’s GDP has been on a steady increase and almost tripled in the last 20 years. Projections also show tangible growth from 2020 to 2021, underlining the fact that the pandemic had little to no impact on the Swiss economy. This was also witnessed by Thierry Calame, who in January 2022 becomes the new managing partner of one of the leading Swiss powerhouses, Lenz & Staehelin: ‘The pandemic continued to be the largest challenge. However, thanks to the robust Swiss economy there has not been any economic downturn in 2021, but rather a significant recovery.’
Continue reading “Switzerland focus: Bouncing back”
Fabian Teichmann and Marie-Christin Falker on how multinational corporations operating in Switzerland can improve their compliance regimes
Clients from all over the globe appreciate the security and stability of Switzerland as one of central Europe’s economic and financial powerhouses. This makes Switzerland a designated safe haven for multinational corporations, entrepreneurs, and wealthy individuals alike. On top of that, Switzerland offers advantageous taxation regimes and privacy. Unlike most other countries, Switzerland places great value on its longstanding tradition of banking secrecy. Continue reading “Sponsored briefing: Compliance in Switzerland and abroad: Tackling corruption and white-collar crime”
Switzerland is often singled out as the prime model for a stable economy – apart from a temporary blip in 2009 following the global economic crisis, GDP growth has moved consistently upwards. The country’s strong employment figures and national debt position have only underlined its positive reputation even more. But when Covid-19 hit, not even Switzerland could roll with all the punches it had to take, and continue growing.
That said, at the end of 2020 the economic activity was only 2% below its pre-crisis level – a strong bounceback, especially compared to other European countries. While Switzerland remains locked down for the first quarter of 2021, the prognosis for the year ahead looks promising. Continue reading “Switzerland focus: Still standing”
As the eurozone economy slows down after six years of uninterrupted growth, Switzerland is an anxious spectator. Amid increased concerns among the EU27 over the potential impact of a disorderly Brexit and the halt to quantitative easing from the European Central Bank’s asset-purchasing programme, Europe’s big three are bracing themselves while Switzerland sits in the middle, watching intently.
To the west, France endures its gilets jaunes; to the south, Italy faces a looming debt crisis with its banks. In the north, Germany has just avoided a technical recession and, like many of the other 18 eurozone countries, forecasters suggest that it will be fortunate to see 1% GDP growth this year. ‘What I see in Italy and France is scary, in particular the rise of populism,’ says Manuel Bianchi della Porta, managing partner of BianchiSchwald in Geneva. ‘A lot is going on in the eurozone: most Swiss trade depends upon Germany, France and Italy. But it seems that we are living on a small island unaffected by all the turmoil that is happening around us. It is like the political stability of our country is protecting us and the business community we are serving.’ Continue reading “Switzerland – Between a rock and a hard place”
The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced on 27 July 2017 it would no longer require that banks that are members of the Libor panel be obliged to communicate a daily rate after 2021.
2021 is perhaps not tomorrow, but it is definitely very soon after tomorrow. Financial institutions should now review their Libor-based contracts and products to quantify their exposure to the discontinuation of such a rate. While the effort is obviously larger for financial institutions, other enterprises, and even retail investors and borrowers, should assess their risk and determine what measures to take. We provide below an overview of the contracts that may be affected and possible remedies. Continue reading “Sponsored briefing: The end of Libor in Switzerland”
Switzerland has not been in a foreign conflict since 1815 when its neutrality was first established by the Treaty of Paris. But, two centuries on, the peace-loving nation could be set to experience a discreet civil war – this time between its law firms.
Despite a cluster of top domestic players vying for the best work, Swiss lawyers have never experienced the level of international competition felt by France and Germany. The market has perhaps been too cosy, the work too plentiful and the outlook too certain. Yet there is something in the Alpine air that suggests this might change – and when it does, the battle for business will intensify. To be fought entirely by stealth rather than with steel, it may nevertheless reshape the domestic legal landscape. Continue reading “Switzerland – The rough and the smooth”
2017 is shaping up to be another strong year for the leading Swiss firms, particularly on the back of a frothy M&A market
‘Compared to other European jurisdictions, Switzerland has been doing well,’ says Benjamin Borsodi, managing partner of Schellenberg Wittmer. ‘2016 was a very good year for many Swiss firms, especially the major ones. It was our best year ever and it looks positive for 2017 as well.’ His sentiment is echoed by Daniel Daeniker, managing partner of Homburger: ‘I was expecting the end of the M&A cycle: it’s simply not happened. Our first quarter numbers in 2017 are well above last year.’
Continue reading “Market report: Switzerland – Feeling lucky”
Switzerland is changing. Among the country’s traditionally-minded law firms, conservatism is in decline, fuelled by a greater appetite for domestic mergers, increased lawyer mobility between firms and a belated focus on alternative legal service provision. Accordingly, Swiss lawyers are much like the swans on Lake Geneva: smooth and serene on the surface, all the while paddling furiously underneath. An energetic response to the fresh demands of an evolving legal services landscape is paying dividends for some.
The wider economy presents a mixed picture, as Urs Klöti, managing partner of Pestalozzi, outlines: ‘Challenging times remain. The Swiss franc is still very strong, which means that export services are extremely expensive compared with previously. That’s an issue for bigger law firms, because many of our invoice payers are non-Swiss counterparts: in relative terms, we’re certainly more expensive than two or three years ago. We often hear it when we talk about fees.’ Continue reading “Making ripples – Turbulent times ahead for the Swiss legal market”
Baker & McKenzie has hired 10 lawyers including five partners to its Zurich office, boosting the firm’s presence in the Swiss financial centre to 130 lawyers. Continue reading “Baker & McKenzie bolsters Swiss offering with ten-lawyer team hire”
All the cultural stereotypes are ingrained in Swiss law firms – well-organised, independent and highly-impressive.
Six Swiss firms make the Euro Elite – impressive for a country of just 8.4 million people. But then the Swiss have a longstanding reputation for being well organised, well educated and well resourced, while the economy – lightly regulated and low taxed – consistently ranks as the world’s most competitive, enjoying the highest per-capita income of any major country, except Norway.
Continue reading “Euro elite: focus Switzerland – Like clockwork”