Swiss banks are managing nearly the same volume of client assets as in the peak year of 2007, enabling the financial centre to maintain its position as a hub of asset management. And yet gross profits at Swiss banks specialised in wealth management have fallen by 30 per cent on average since 2007.
Higher client demands, greater transparency and tighter and more complex rules and regulations are among the reasons cited by PwC in a recent report. Fintech companies are also putting banks under pressure with their new services.
“The question remains whether bank customers are requesting these services or whether they will remain with traditional banks,” said Martin Schilling, head of corporate finance at PwC Switzerland.
The industry is still in a process of consolidation. The number of banks in Switzerland has declined by around one quarter since 2007, and last year there were 136 banks. PwC expects that number to fall below 100 in the next three to five years, but believes the remaining banks will emerge stronger as a result.