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 37,000 jobs and accounts for 15% of Geneva's GDP. It has 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 contribute to the development of an optimal business environment for all financial center partners. A strong financial center benefits the entire economy as well as the population of Geneva as a whole.
The 14 members of the Board of the Geneva Financial Center represent the broad range of companies that operate in the Lake Geneva financial sector, including private bankers, large banks, commercial and wealth management banks, foreign-owned banks, cantonal banks, independent financial advisors, accounting firms, lawyers and commodity traders.
The Board defines the strategic priorities of the Foundation. It does so by listening attentively to the needs of all financial sector partners. This approach allows the GFC to target its activities to serve their interests and those of the Geneva financial center.
The Permanent Secretariat of the Foundation is responsible for managing day-to-day operations. Its Director is appointed by the Board.
Management and general administration:
Promotion and training
Situated at the crossroads of major trade routes from the Mediterranean to Flanders and from Italy to France, Geneva became an important center of trade many centuries ago.
In 1387, Bishop Adhémar Fabri granted the people of Geneva "franchises" that confirmed their ancient freedoms and awarded some new ones. One of these was the privilege to lend money with interest. No other Christian nation enjoyed this right, since the Church vehemently opposed money-lending at that time.
During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Geneva was one of the main centers of European trade. Transfers of funds, payment orders, loans and foreign exchange transactions saw traders become bankers.
By the seventeenth century, Geneva had developed global trading networks. Geneva’s bankers underwrote the Dutch East India Company, the Royal Bank of England, the Manufacture Royal des Glaces (Saint-Gobain, the first industrial firm in Europe) and many other enterprises.
Geneva’s bankers advised ministers and kings and occasionally even became ministers themselves. Albert Gallatin became Secretary of the Treasury of the United States and negotiated the purchase of Louisiana; Georges Prévost was Governor General of Canada; Pierre Isaac Tellusson was Director of the Bank of England, and Jacques Necker was Finance Minister to Louis XVI of France.
During the nineteenth century, Geneva’s bankers contributed to the industrial and commercial development of Switzerland and Europe by helping to fund new railways and issuing government bonds.
Switzerland's first stock exchange opened in Geneva in 1857, a quarter of a century before the stock exchanges of Zurich and Basel. This institution further enhanced Geneva’s growing reputation as a financial center. The Geneva Bourse was the fifth largest stock exchange in Europe at the time, after Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London and Paris. Numerous foreign securities were already being traded there.
A number of commercial banks were established around the turn of the century in Geneva and organized as limited companies. As a result, Geneva’s private banks increasingly specialised in pure wealth management. This activity became increasingly important to the Geneva financial center after the end of the Second World War. In the following decades, the expertise and tradition of private banking in Geneva attracted increasing numbers of Swiss and foreign commercial banks, financial companies and service providers to the region, transforming it into a world capital of wealth management.
of wealth management