For this study, the Institute of Financial Services Zug IFZ at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts examined 30 cities with regard to the business environment they provide for fintech companies. With Zurich in second and Geneva third, two Swiss cities were placed in podium positions at the very top of the rankings. London and Amsterdam follow in third and fourth, while Singapore came out top.
Overall, the study asserts that Switzerland offers “very good conditions” for the fintech sector, the University reported in a press release. Switzerland’s two successful cities above all base their leading position on their high level of political stability. In terms of the political and legal environment, they were in fact the best of the 30 in-scope cities, overtaking last year’s leader in this category, Singapore. Further strengths of Zurich and Geneva include the low level of corruption, high freedom of press and comparatively low corporate taxes. The two cities both score well in terms of the size of their financial sector but have catching up to do in the technological dimension. Switzerland also still has some room for improvement concerning visa restrictions, where Zurich and Geneva rank only 15th.
In its press release on the study, the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts also highlights the rapid growth of the Crypto Valley. This region around Zug benefits from leading research institutes and the clustering of innovative entrepreneurs. The Crypto Valley in turn enables Switzerland to profit from the global ICO boom: local fintech companies raised capital of 271 million Swiss francs through this alternative form of financing. At the same time, investment via the traditional method of venture capital also increased significantly in 2017, to total around 130 million francs.
The study assumes that the fintech sector will continue to grow in 2018, which will result in more jobs, higher company valuations and consolidation in some fintech product areas.