The diversity of actors that are the lifeblood of the Geneva financial center is the secret of its success. A wide variety of banking groups and numerous financial intermediaries have emerged over the years and now offer a wide range of products and services.
Today they offer a wide range of products and services in the following three areas:
There are 119 banks in Geneva, including 24 commercial and investment banks, 4 private bankers, and 62 foreign-owned banks. In addition, there are 866 independent financial advisors, more than 3,000 financial intermediaries, 623 insurance companies, 1,311 accounting firms, and more than 500 lawyers and notaries. A total of 6,689 companies operate in the financial center and account for more than 37,000 jobs. The financial sector alone accounts for almost 15% of Geneva's gross domestic product (GDP). With the addition of commodity trading, its contribution to GDP totals around 40%.
With 400 commodity trading companies on its territory, Geneva is the world’s largest trader in cereals and vegetable oils, and in Europe it is the largest trader in sugar and cotton. A third of the world's exports of oil and oil by-products are negotiated in Geneva. It is thus no coincidence that many banks in Geneva have opted to specialise in commodity trade financing and that many shipping companies and others specialising in the inspection and verification of goods – including the global leader in the field – are based here as well.
The Geneva financial center enjoys an excellent international reputation thanks to a 500-year tradition founded on strict ethical principles. With the presence of activities such as marine freight and inspection, Geneva has emerged as an economic cluster with a unique concentration of skills. For instance, wealth management provides assets for underwriting commodity trading and credits. This creates a need for other services, such as shipping and inspection. These services in turn help attract multinational companies. Finally, this unique value chain enhances the quality of universities and research and contributes to making Geneva a key player in sustainable finance.