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Switzerland: Derivatives

A special report prepared by Credit Suisse Financial Products.




Today's global financial markets are without frontiers. Reading most financial publications, one would think that doing financial business in London, Tokyo or Zurich is merely engineering and selling generic products to local markets.

In reality, fundamental cultural differences exist in the demand and usage of financial products even amongst neighbouring countries. Switzerland is no exception, and analyzing the market for derivatives products in this country is an interesting exercise in order to understand the future of the derivatives business in general.

Although a small country, Switzerland presents a extremely diversified financial profile:

* Swiss corporates include some of the biggest European multinationals alongside big domestic companies;

* Swiss sovereign entities (confederation, cantons, municipalities) have only recently faced significant borrowing needs and this trend is likely to continue;

* The Swiss financial sector has traditionally been very important and diversified: it combines three giant, universal groups, present internationally in every area of finance; a unique collection of private banks; and a strong network of local commercial banks.

Switzerland therefore offers the promising potential of a very diversified market in a limited geographical area; but it is also a country where caution is a national tradition.

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