A safe haven? The post-crisis health of Switzerland's finance industry
Viewed from the outside, Switzerland looks like a rocky island in a stormy sea of financial distress. The unemployment rate is only 4.4% compared with 9.1% in the US and the national budget closed in 2010 with a surplus, a sharp contrast to the situation in all major neighbouring countries like France or Italy. The Swiss financial sector continues to play an important role in the country’s economy. It contributes approximately 10% of the country’s gross domestic product. Despite this bright picture, the Swiss financial sector did not remain unaffected by the worldwide financial crisis in 2007. In particular, UBS, the largest Swiss bank and a top-tier player in the wealth management business, reported losses of $18.7bn (£11.7bn) in relation to US residential mortgage sector exposures for 2007 and the first quarter of 2008.
Though the Swiss financial industry appeared to come out of the economic crisis relatively unscathed, it’s not all plain sailing, says Baer & Karrer’s Eric Stupp
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