Switzerland: between idiosyncrasy and standardisation
For decades, certain defining characteristics of the Swiss system, such as bank secrecy, were considered to be part of its DNA. In recent years, our country has had to give up a number of these features, but has managed to hold on to others.
The best example of this path towards standardisation is the introduction of the automatic exchange of information, which will begin on 1 January 2018, based on data collected in 2017. Another notable example is the abandonment of special tax status accorded to companies.
Faced with developments it has not been able to resist, it is essential that the country does not succumb to that very Swiss phenomenon of always having to be the “good pupil”. We should not do more than is necessary, or indeed more than other states are doing.
Switzerland has, nonetheless, managed to preserve some of its defining characteristics, for example expenditure-based taxation. (...)
Faced with these different developments, it is up to the various members of the Swiss financial centre to come up with new business models which take these new regulations into account.
Philippe Kenel, Attorney-at-Law in Lausanne, Geneva and Brussels, Python
In addition to financial services, Switzerland is famous world-wide for its watchmaking. However, more than 30 years ago this legendary Swiss industry was on the brink of being erased. No industry is safe from disruption and the Swiss watchmaking industry was late to adopt the disruptive technology of that time – quartz movement with the potential of slimmer and less expensive watches. While America and Japan called this time the “The Quartz Revolution”, in Switzerland it was referred to as “The Quartz Crisis”. By 1978 the Swiss market share fell from a comfortable 50 per cent to a worrying 15 per cent. Were Swiss watchmakers focused on building better horse-drawn carriages in a world of cars? Luckily the Swatch was born, a global success story which resuscitated the Swiss watchmaking industry. (...)
Susanne Chisti, CEO FINTECH Circle, Chairman FINTECH Circle Innovate and Co-Editor of the global Bestseller “The FINTECH Book”
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