Created in 1991 by the 80 banks that were members of the Geneva stock exchange, the Geneva Financial Center (GFC) is the umbrella association of the financial sector. The financial sector generates 35,600 jobs and accounts for 12% of Geneva's GDP. It is based on three main pillars: private and institutional wealth management, commodity trade financing, and commercial and retail banking. With the presence of activities such as marine freight and inspection, Geneva has emerged as an economic cluster with a unique concentration of skills. The central mission of the Geneva Financial Center is to support this value chain and to contribute to the development of an optimal business environment for all financial center partners.
The Swiss Bankers Association publishes its traditional Banking Barometer. In 2017, the banking sector showed a great resilience and its ability to adapt to a challenging environment.
Regulatory requirements and the rising intensity of competition continued to put pressure on the banks’ margins. The low interest rate environment also posed challenges for the banks. Notwithstanding, most banks reported a profit last year, which amounted to CHF 7.9 bn (2015: CHF 15.8 bn, one-off effect resulting from high extraordinary income generated by a big bank). Aggregate operating net income was CHF 62.5 bn (-3.2%), which is slightly below the previous year, and therefore marks the first decline since 2012. The banks continue to consistently fulfil their role as an engine of the economy. The successful future of the banks depends on good framework conditions that increase the international competitiveness of the Swiss financial centre.