Switzerland: No waves of consolidation
Despite still being overbanked, Switzerland will not witness a wave of consolidation in the coming year, say leading players in the market. "We will see some consolidation; we are overbanked to some degree in Switzerland," says Urs Roth, chief executive officer at the Swiss Bankers Association. "But the domestic market is in very good shape. There is always potential for consolidation but we do not have that many players that we will see a wave."
Barthélémy Helg, managing partner at Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch, agrees. "We have seen some consolidation but not the wave of mergers some had foreseen," he says. "People were saying there would be 15 to 20 mergers this year but we haven't seen them." He adds that with 90% of the banks being privately owned, they are happy to run a stable business so see no need for mergers.
Helg predicts that, after lean times in the past four years, 2005 will be a good one for the Swiss market.