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Banking

Switzerland: No credit crunch here

There is no shortage of demand and supply for SME funding; of more concern are attacks on corporates from the left.

If in doubt, have a referendum about it. That has been the Swiss formula for several decades, and it has recently been the cause of considerable angst within the local business community in general and among SMEs in particular. Until the last week of November, Swiss companies were threatened with the so-called "1:12 campaign" proposed by Switzerland’s rowdy Young Socialists.

Riled by what they regard as the widening gap between the country’s haves and its have-nots, leftists in Switzerland have called for the salaries of the highest-paid employees to be capped at 12 times those of workers at the lowest end of the pay scale at the same company. To put that figure into perspective, in 2012 the best-paid employee at Roche received 236 times as much as the lowest-paid worker the previous year, according to Swiss Review.

Voters rejected the 1:12 proposal in November’s referendum, much to the relief of Swiss business leaders and the Swiss Trade Association (SGV). The Association, which represents the country’s SMEs, had warned in a pamphlet, distributed to all Swiss households, that the "arsonists" from the Young Socialists were threatening to "ruin Switzerland’s successful economic model". One outspoken opponent of the proposal had even argued that a yes vote in the referendum would have transformed Switzerland into the "North Korea of Europe".

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