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Switzerland

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Banking landscape

Switzerland is a nation with a history of independence and neutrality - the country has not been at war since 1815, remains outside both the Eurozone and the European Union (EU), and did not join the United Nations until 2002. It is also one of the world's wealthiest countries per capita, and according to Credit Suisse, is home to almost one in 20 of the world's super-rich.

The Swiss banking sector is famed for its secrecy, encoded in law in 1934 when it became a criminal offence for Swiss banks to reveal a client's identity - with exceptions possible only for criminal investigations. As a result Switzerland is one of the world's biggest tax havens, with its banks estimated to hold 27% of all global offshore wealth.

As can be expected given this inflow of global capital, the Swiss banking sector is relatively large, accounting for around 6.2% of gross domestic product (GDP). In terms of market share, the sector is dominated by Switzerland's two big global banks, UBS and Credit Suisse, which between them account for over 50% of total assets. The remainder of the market is relatively fragmented, and figures from the Swiss government show 312 banks in total, including regional banks, cantonal banks (government-owned commercial banks which use the canton they are based in as guarantee for the assets held there), and a large number of foreign-owned banks. The number of banks has been falling steadily over the last 10 years (down from 369 in 2001) as smaller Swiss banks have consolidated.

The ethical banking sector is represented primarily by Alternative Bank Schweiz and Freie Gemeinschaftsbank, two Swiss ethical banks which use strict ethical guidelines for their activities and provide total transparency about their lending.

Bank regulation

Banks in Switzerland are regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), the government body responsible for financial regulation. As well as banks, FINMA's remit also includes the supervision of insurance companies, stock exchanges and securities dealers as well as other Swiss financial intermediaries. FINMA is institutionally independent from the central federal administration and the Federal Department of Finance, and reports directly to the Swiss parliament.

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) is the central bank of Switzerland, responsible for Swiss monetary policy and for issuing Swiss franc banknotes. The SNB is a publicly traded company, with around 55% of the shares owned by public shareholders (cantons, cantonal banks, etc.) and the remainder held by private shareholders. It is obliged by the Constitution and by statute to act in accordance with the interests of the country as a whole.

The Bank of International Settlements, an organization that facilitates cooperation among the world's central banks, is headquartered in Switzerland, in the city of Basel. Founded in 1930, the BIS chose to locate in Switzerland because of the country's neutrality.

Independent sustainability initiatives

The "Swiss Sustainable Finance" platform was launched in July 2014 by a coalition of financial sector organisations (not including the "big two" banks), as well as research providers, public sector organisations and others, to promote sustainability in the Swiss financial centre.  

Banking sector reform

Switzerland has come under increasing pressure in recent years from the EU, the US and other states and international institutions to reform laws that provide anonymity and secrecy for foreign tax evaders and avoiders. Together with a number of other states, Switzerland was blacklisted as a tax haven by the OECD in 2009. Consequently, the government agreed to conform to OECD regulations on administrative assistance in tax matters, including tax evasion.

While the country did enough to be rapidly removed from the OECD blacklist (and the subsequent ‘grey list'), Tax Justice Network's report on Switzerland notes that its concessions to developed countries have to date been rather limited, while efforts for greater transparency from weaker, smaller and developing countries have generally been rebuffed completely. (Also see the Berne Declaration report, 'Tax and Development', in German and French.)

The tax issue has affected some Swiss banks particularly severely. In 2009 UBS was fined $780 million by the United States government over a multi-million dollar tax evasion case, and was eventually forced to reveal the names of its US clients suspected of tax evasion. And in early 2012, Switzerland's oldest bank, Wegelin & Co., was forced out of business after being indicted for facilitating tax evasion by U.S. taxpayers. It is likely that the Swiss banking sector will continue to face pressure on this issue for some time to come.

Switzerland

Population: 7.7 million (2011)

GDP: USD 635.65 billion (2011) 

 


working partners
Alternative Bank Schweiz
The Alternative Bank Switzerland established in 1990 is a Swiss ethical bank. It emphasises ethical principles instead of maximum profits. As the leading provider of ethical…
Crédit Agricole
The Crédit Agricole Group is a unified but decentralised group consisting of 39 Regional Banks, Crédit Agricole S.A. and many subsidiaries. It includes Crédit…
Credit Suisse
Credit Suisse Group was founded in 1856 and is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. It serves companies, institutional clients and high-net-worth private clients worldwide,…
UBS
Modern UBS was formed through a merger of the Union Bank of Switzerland and the Swiss Bank Corporation in June 1998.  UBS is headquartered in Zurich and Basel and it…
Zurich Kantonalbank
ZKB (the Zurich Cantonal Bank) is the largest cantonal bank and fourth largest bank in Switzerland, as well as the leading financial services provider in the Greater Zurich…

Switzerland

Population: 7.7 million (2011)

GDP: USD 635.65 billion (2011) 

 


working partners
Dodgy Deals located in Switzerland
check dodgy deals on record
Dodgy Deals abroad financed by banks from Switzerland
Cirebon 2 coal fired power plant
Indonesia
co financed by
The coal fired power plant Cirebon Unit 2, with a capacity of 1,000 megawatt, is a power plant project in the West Java region of Cirebon, Indonesia. The project is estimated…
Hazelwood coal fired-power station
Australia
co financed by
Hazelwood power station and mine are located in Victoria's Latrobe Valley, 150 km east of Melbourne in Australia. The 1,542 megawatt brown coal-fired power station is supplied…
Jaitapur nuclear power plant
India
co financed by
The Jaitapur project plans to host two European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) of 1,650 MWe each, with possible extension by four additional units. The Generation III+ class…
Kaltim Prima Coal mine
Indonesia
co financed by Credit Suisse Group, UBS
PT Kaltim Prima Coal (KPC), located in the province of East Kalimantan, is the biggest coal mine in Indonesia. The KPC project produces around 50 million tonnes a year, making…
Kusile coal power plant
South Africa
co financed by Credit Suisse Group
The Kusile coal fired power plant project is located in the province of Mpumalanga, in South Africa, initiated by Eskom, the state electricity company. With 4800 megawatt,…
Medupi coal-fired power plant
South Africa
co financed by
The Medupi Power Station is a coal-fired power plant currently under construction in Lephalale, South Africa. The project comprises six 800 megawatt units to provide a total…
Mochovce nuclear power plant (units 3 & 4)
Slovakia
co financed by
The building of Slovakia's Mochovce 3 and 4 nuclear reactors is the longest running nuclear construction project anywhere in Europe. The reactors were designed by the Soviet…
Mountain top removal coal mining
United States
co financed by Credit Suisse Group, UBS
Mountain top removal (MTR) mining is a form of strip mining in which coal companies use explosives to blast as much as 800 to 1,000 feet off the tops of mountains order to…
Plomin C coal power plant
Croatia
co financed by
The Croatian electricity company HEP announced on September 2, 2014 that a preferred bidder consortium, consisting of the French energy company Alstom and the Japanese Marubeni…
SOCAR Aegean Refinery
Turkey
co financed by
The owner and operator of the Aegean Refinery is STAR Rafineri A.S. ("STAR") a joint stock company incorporated under the laws of Turkey. The joint venture is now 81.5% owned…
Tanjung Jati-B 2
Indonesia
co financed by
Tanjung Jati B power station is a 2,640 megawatt coal-fired power plant located in Central Java Province, Indonesia. PT Central Java Power, the project's developer, started…
Visaginas nuclear power plant
Lithuania
co financed by
Visaginas is the atomic phoenix the Lithuanian government hopes will rise from the ashes of the Ignalina nuclear power plant. Ignalina was finally closed in 2009 for safety…
Maules Creek coal mine
Australia
co financed by Credit Suisse Group
Whitehaven Coal's Maules Creek mine is a part thermal, part semi soft coking coal mine being developed in the Gunnedah Basin in Northern New South Wales. It would produce…
Patents on chimpanzees and other animals
- international -
co financed by Credit Suisse Group, UBS
The European Patent Office (EPO) has, since 2010, granted five patents on chimpanzees to the companies Bionomics, Intrexon and Altor BioScience. The animals have been genetically…
Phulbari coal mine
Bangladesh
co financed by Credit Suisse Group
The Phulbari coal project is a proposed open pit coal mine in northwest Bangladesh and includes the construction of at least one 500-MW power plant. At full production about…
Dominion Cove Point LNG
United States
co financed by UBS
U.S. liquefied natural gas ("LNG") holding company Dominion Midstream Partners (DM.), which owns Dominion Cove Point LNG in Maryland, a company owning LNG import, storage,…
Madagascar tar sands
Madagascar
co financed by UBS
Located in the western Melaky region of Mahajanga pronvince are the two most developed tar sands projects of Madagascar, named Bemolanga and Tsimiroro. The size of both fields…
check dodgy deals on record

Switzerland

Population: 7.7 million (2011)

GDP: USD 635.65 billion (2011) 

 


working partners
Companies located in Switzerland
Glencore
Switzerland
co financed by Credit Suisse Group, UBS
Glencore plc (formerly Glencore Xstrata) is an Anglo-Swiss multinational commodity trading and mining company. The company was created through a merger of Glencore with Xstrata…
Companies abroad financed by banks from Switzerland
Alpha Natural Resources
United States
co financed by
Alpha Natural Resources is a large American producer of metallurgical and thermal coal. It also provides services relating to equipment repairs, road construction and logistics…
Anglo American
United Kingdom
co financed by Credit Suisse Group, UBS
Anglo American is a British multinational mining company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the world's largest producer of platinum, with around 40% of world…
Arch Coal
United States
co financed by Credit Suisse Group, UBS
Arch Coal is an American coal mining and processing company. The company mines, processes, and markets bituminous and sub-bituminous coal with low sulfur content in the United…
Areva
France
co financed by Credit Suisse Group, UBS
Created in 2001 and 90% owned by the French state, this multinational conglomerate boasts of interests in every aspect of nuclear power from uranium mining to nuclear fuel…
BHP Billiton
Australia
co financed by Credit Suisse Group, UBS
BHP Billiton is the world's largest mining company. It occupies significant positions in major commodity businesses, including aluminium, energy coal and metallurgical coal,…
Bumi Resources
Indonesia
co financed by Credit Suisse Group, UBS
Bumi Resources is currently the most significant coal producer in Indonesia with 2013 production at 80 million tonnes. It owns the Kaltim Prima Coal project in…
Bumitama
Indonesia
co financed by
Bumitama Agri Ltd. is one of the largest producers of Palm oil and Palm Kernel in Indonesia, where it controls over 200.000 hectares of palm oil plantations. It was established…
EDF
France
co financed by Credit Suisse Group, Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch & Cie, UBS
Like its rival and fellow French multinational AREVA, Électricité de France (EDF) is one of the biggest players in the global energy game. In fact, with more…
Enel
Italy
co financed by Credit Suisse Group, Pictet, UBS
Enel is Italy's largest power company and Europe's second largest according to its generating capacity. Its interests stretch beyond Italy to 40 countries on four continents.…
ENGIE
France
co financed by Credit Suisse Group, UBS
ENGIE (known as GDF SUEZ until April 2015) is the largest independent power producer in the world. In 2013 it operated 600 power plants worldwide. It had 113.7 GW of installed…
ESKOM
South Africa
co financed by
Eskom is the world's eleventh-largest power utility in terms of generating capacity and ranks ninth in terms of sales. In 2011 it had an installed generating capacity of…
IOI Corporation
Malaysia
co financed by Credit Suisse Group, UBS
IOI Corporation, founded in 1969, is a Malaysian conglomerate involved in the property and plantation business, including oil palm cultivation. The company's specialty fats…
Jindal Steel & Power
India
co financed by UBS
Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) is one of India's major steel producers with a significant presence in sectors like mining, power generation and infrastructure. It…
Lockheed Martin
United States
co financed by Credit Suisse Group, UBS
Lockheed Martin is one of the worlds largest arms-producing and military services companies. It is a global security company engaged in the research, design, development,…
Rio Tinto
Australia
co financed by Credit Suisse Group, UBS
Rio Tinto is a mining and exploration company involved in each stage of metal and mineral production and processing. Rio Tinto is one of the largest publicly listed mining…
RWE
Germany
co financed by Credit Suisse Group, UBS
RWE is Europe's second largest electricity generator and one of Europe's five leading gas and electricity companies. Founded in 1898, the company is active in the generation,…
Vinci
France
co financed by
  Vinci is a leading company involved in concessions and construction, and has operations in around 100 countries.  It employs an estimated 180,000 people…
Wilmar Group
Singapore
co financed by
Wilmar International (WLIL.SI), founded in 1991 and headquartered in Singapore is one of the world's largest agribusinesses. It is involved in a wide range of businesses,…
APRIL
Indonesia
co financed by Credit Suisse Group
Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Limited, or APRIL, is Indonesia's second largest pulp and paper producer. It develops fibre plantations and it is the owner…
Asian Agri
Indonesia
co financed by Credit Suisse Group
Asian Agri is an Indonesian palm oil company, founded in 1979 by Sukanto Tanoto, a tycoon who also has interests in the paper, pulp, oil & gas industries through the…
BW Plantations
Indonesia
co financed by Credit Suisse Group
BW Plantations is an Indonesian oil palm company that is involved in plantation development as well as crude palm oil production. Through its subsidiaries, BWPT owns…
Coal India
India
co financed by Credit Suisse Group
Coal India is the biggest coal producer worldwide, majority-owned by the government of India. It was created in the 1970's when India's coal mining industry was nationalised…
Elbit Systems
Israel
co financed by Credit Suisse Group, UBS
Elbit Systems is a military equipment producer with a focus on defense electronics such as intelligence gathering systems.  It was established in 1967 and is headquartered…
Eletrobras
Brazil
co financed by Credit Suisse Group
Founded in 1962, Eletrobras is an electric power holding company and the largest electricity generation and transmission company in Brazil. Through its subsidiaries it owns…
Golden Agri-Resources - GAR
Singapore
co financed by Credit Suisse Group, Pictet, UBS
Golden Agri-Resources Ltd (GAR) is the world's second largest palm oil plantation company with a total planted area of 470,600 hectares (including smallholders) as at 30…
HAGL
Viet Nam
co financed by Credit Suisse Group
Hoang Anh Enterprise is a Vietnamese company, founded by Chairman Doan NGuyen Duc in 1993, was converted to a Joint Stock Company and renamed as HAGL JSC in 2006. On 22 Dec…
Samling
Hong Kong
co financed by Credit Suisse Group
The Samling group, which is based in the Malaysian state of Sarawak on Borneo, is one of Malaysia's biggest logging companies and responsible for the ongoing destruction…
Sappi
South Africa
co financed by Credit Suisse Group, UBS
Sappi Limited is a South African pulp and paper company with global operations. It was originally incorporated as South African Pulp and Paper Industries Limited in 1936,…
Sime Darby
Malaysia
co financed by Credit Suisse Group, Julius Baer, Pictet, Unigestion
Sime Darby is a Malaysian multinational conglomerate that has operations in the plantations, property, healthcare, the energy and utilities sector. It was founded in 1910…
Sinar Mas
Indonesia
co financed by Credit Suisse Group, UBS
Sinar Mas Group is one of the largest conglomerates in Indonesia. Its main activities are in the  Palm Oil and Pulp and Paper sectors, operating as well in Real Estate,…
Singapore Technologies Engineering
Singapore
co financed by Credit Suisse Group, UBS
Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering) is an integrated engineering group specialising in innovative solutions and services in the aerospace, electronics,…
Textron
United States
co financed by Credit Suisse Group, UBS
Textron is a multi-industry company, consisting of numerous subsidiaries and operating units. One subsidiary is Textron Systems, which is active in the defence, homeland…
Vattenfall
Sweden
co financed by Credit Suisse Group
Sweden's state-owned Vattenfall is Europe's sixth largest generator of electricity and largest producer of heat. In 2013, Vattenfall's total installed capacity across all…
Asia Pulp and Paper - APP
Indonesia
co financed by UBS
APP is the pulp and paper susbidiary of the Sinar Mas Group, and is one of the largest pulp and paper companies in the world. The Sinar Mas Group was founded in 1962…
Poongsan
South Korea
co financed by UBS
Poongsan, a leading defense company in South Korea which was founded in 1968, develops military and sporting ammunition. It is the second South Korean cluster munitions company,…
Royal Dutch Shell
Netherlands
co financed by UBS
Royal Dutch Shell plc is a public limited company registered in England and Wales and headquartered in The Hague, the Netherlands. The group operates in upstream, downstream…
Shenhua Group
China
co financed by UBS
Shenhua Group is a wholly state-owned company founded in 1995 directly under the central government. It is the largest coal producing company in the world. It takes coal…
check company profiles on record

Switzerland

Population: 7.7 million (2011)

GDP: USD 635.65 billion (2011) 

 


working partners
2013 2009

Switzerland

Population: 7.7 million (2011)

GDP: USD 635.65 billion (2011) 

 


working partners

Switzerland

Population: 7.7 million (2011)

GDP: USD 635.65 billion (2011) 

 


working partners
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