Tuesday 05 October 2021

Press conference - October 2021

The banking sector is a strong pillar of the economy and a major contributor to Geneva's GDP (13%). The financial institutions are in good health: they have seen their profits increase and have attracted significant net inflows of funds in the first half of 2021. It is a conquering financial centre that is committed to a transition towards a more sustainable economic model and is in the front line of the digital revolution. In this context, the relaunch of the dialogue with the EU and the development of an attractive tax system remain priorities.

Geneva's financial centre: an engine for recovery

The strength of the Geneva financial centre enabled it to assume its fundamental role during the coronavirus pandemic, namely that of a provider of credit to companies. The banks granted around 139,000 loans for an amount exceeding CHF 17 billion within the framework of the Covid-19 credit programme.
If the banking and financial sector is to continue to play its role as a driving force in the post-crisis period, the political, legal and fiscal framework conditions must be favourable. This requires a revival of the dialogue with the European Union and an attractive tax system. On the latter point, encouraging signals only need to be confirmed in connection with the reform of withholding tax and stamp duty. On the other hand, at the Geneva level, the proliferation of legislation aimed at increasing taxes in all directions sends a message that is harmful to the Canton's competitiveness.

Geneva real estate: dynamic and resilient
Geneva's real estate sector has passed its test of passage through the pandemic crisis. The energy, digital and demographic transitions are major trends. Real estate in Switzerland, and in particular in Geneva, is in a generally dynamic economic cycle, with nuances depending on the segment. In Geneva, the strong demand for housing is correlated with a very low vacancy rate (0.51%). As for commercial property, the equation is more heterogeneous: arcades, shops and hotels are the sectors most affected. In this context, the real estate banking risk remains moderate due to a prudent policy of the banking institutions and a tight regulatory framework.

Business survey: financial intermediaries in a healthy state
The results of the Business Survey 2021-2022 show that the banking and financial sector is one of the industries that have shown remarkable resilience during the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Several indicators demonstrate the good health of this sector: net profit and net new money are increasing in the first half of 2021. The attractiveness of Geneva as a financial centre has been confirmed in the Middle East, and assets under management from European clients are increasing. For 2022, the financial players are optimistic and anticipate an increase in their workforce.

Press contact Chantal Bourquin (bourquin@geneve-finance.ch)