Swiss banks look set for new job cuts this year, despite ever-rosier figures, amid rising regulatory pressure and a US clampdown on tax-dodgers, consultants EY said Thursday.
In a study on the 2014 outlook for the country's banking sector, EY underlined the tough environment for what is a cornerstone of the Swiss economy.
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Hit by a US crackdown on tax cheats, EY said that the private banking sector, which caters for the wealthiest clients, was facing the greatest pressure.
"The increasingly unfavourable conditions are currently leading many banks to reassess their business models," said Bruno Patusi, head of wealth and asset management at EY Switzerland.
"The competitive pressure and the tax agreement concluded with the US will tend to accelerate the consolidation," he said.
The crisis has driven the battle against tax-dodging to the top of government agendas, forcing Swiss banks to defend the country's long-held tradition of banking secrecy.
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According to the survey, 73 per cent of banks believe that the US-driven solution is damaging the sector.
Rather than fearing losses, banks are mainly worried by the cost of employing expensive lawyers to comb through accounts and pass on mounds of data to US tax authorities.
Three-quarters of the banks said that they also expected the automatic exchange of customer information to become the global standard, meaning the final death knell for banking secrecy.JAT Comment: If the world community impaired the Somali pirates business model by stricter enforcement measures the pirates would have to cut back on their "employees" as well or seek a new business model.
If there are substantial cuts in jobs in the Swiss financial sector, one might infer that, since the developments impair the Swiss banks' ability to enable their customers to cheat on taxes (U.S., German, French, etc.), that a substantial number of bank employees were engaged in that "business model" and are just no longer needed. I doubt that the banks will find much sympathy in the world community for that job loss.