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Switzerland research guide

A special report prepared by Bank J.Vontobel & Co. Ltd.

SWITZERLAND

A EUROMONEY SURVEY - MARCH 1996

Introduction

A PROMISING FUTURE

When referring to Switzerland as a financial centre, what is often meant is the unique position that Switzerland has long held in the world of private banking. This history deserves a brief review, since it is relevant to Switzerland's current status as an international financial centre. Equally important to global investors, however, is the future development of Finanzplatz Schweiz and the comparative advantages it will offer private and institutional investors.

PRIVATE BANKING

The leadership position Swiss private banking enjoys today was not achieved by mere circumstance. Rather, it arose out of a number of different factors:


Factors which built leadership


1) The first crucial factor in Switzerland's leadership position was its unconstrained openness towards its European neighbours, manifested by its multicultural society and the four languages spoken within its narrow borders.


2) A second factor derives from the country's relatively small size and lack of natural resources, which encouraged the Swiss to look beyond their national borders and cultivate business relationships with foreign merchants.