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Switzerland enjoys a bumper year

UK regions offer the key to growth

Swiss private banks had a very good year in 2006, according to Jacques Rossier, partner at Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch in Geneva.

Despite a poor second quarter, net profit growth across the industry was 20%, much higher than expected.

“There has been a large increase in assets, in large part due to market upturn,” says Rossier. “But also there has been strong growth in net new money. We have seen continued growth in 2006 with net new money coming in. We do not see a significant outflow of money to the likes of Singapore.”

Urs Roth, chief executive of the Swiss Bankers Association, adds that there is no cause for pessimism for the coming year. “We see no clouds on the horizon,” he says.

But Rossier says bankers should not get carried away and that recent history shows things can turn quickly. “We have a very cyclical industry. The all-time high for net profits for Swiss banks was 2000,” he says. “That was then followed by three very tough years. They were down 35% in 2001, then by another 25% in 2002 and by a further 5% in 2003.

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