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The economy of Switzerland is one of the world's most stable economies. Its policy of long-term monetary security and political stability has made Switzerland a safe haven for investors, creating an economy that is increasingly dependent on a steady tide of foreign investment.

Because of the country's small size and high labor specialization, industry and trade are the keys to Switzerland's economic livelihoodACER Aspire 4743 CPU Fan

. Switzerland has achieved one of the highest per capita incomes in the world with low unemployment rates and a balanced budget. The service sector has also come to play a significant economic role.

Switzerland as a federal state was established in 1848. Before that time, the city-cantons of Zurich and Basel in particular began to develop economically based on industry and trade, while the rural regions of Switzerland remained poor and under-developed.HP Pavilion dv6-2170us CPU Fan

While a workshop system had been in existence throughout the early modern period, the production of machines began in 1801 in St. Gallen, with the third generation of machines imported from Great Britain. But in Switzerland, hydraulic power was often used instead of steam-engines because of the country's topography while there are no significant deposits of coal. Toshiba Satellite L675-S7018 CPU Fan

By 1814, hand weaving had been mostly replaced by the power loom. Both tourism and banking began to develop as an economic factor from about the same time.

Its industrial sector began to grow in the mid-19th century, but Switzerland's emergence as one of the most prosperous nations in Europe, sometimes termed the "Swiss miracle" was a development of the short 20th century, among other things tied to the role of Switzerland during the World Wars. ASUS F80Q CPU Fan

During World War I, Switzerland suffered an economic crisis. It was marked by a decrease in energy consumption, energy being mostly produced by coal in the 1910s, 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. The war tax[specify] was introduced. As imports were difficult, attempts were made to strengthen the Swiss economy. The cultivation of grain was promoted, and the Swiss railway became the first to use electric instead of coal-burning, steam-driven engines. ACER TravelMate 4200 CPU Fan

In the 1920s Switzerland's energy consumption increased.Throughout the 1930s Switzerland's energy consumption stagnated.In the 1940s, particularly during World War II the economy profited from the increased export and delivery of weapons to the German Reich, France, Great Britain, and other neighbouring and close countries. However, Switzerland's energy consumption decreased rapidly. HP 434678-001 CPU Fan

The conduct of the banks cooperating with the Nazis, but not exclusively, they also cooperated extensively with the British and French. and the commercial relations with the axis powers during the war became the subject of sharp criticism, resulting in a short period of international isolation of Switzerland from the world. After World War II, Switzerland's production facilities remained to a great extent undamaged which facilitated the country's swift economic resurgence.HP G70-120EA CPU Fan

In the 1950s, annual GDP growth averaged 5% and Switzerland's energy consumption doubled. Coal lost its rank as Switzerland's primary energy source, as other fossil fuels such as crude and refined oil and natural and refined gas imports increased. This decade also marked the transition from an industrial economy to a service economy. Since then the service sector has been growing faster than the agrarian and industrial sectors. Toshiba Satellite A300-034 CPU Fan

In the 1960s, annual GDP growth averaged 4% and Switzerland's energy consumption doubled. By the end of the decade oil was Switzerland's primary energy source

In the 1970s GDP growth rates gradually declined from a peak of 6.5% in 1970 until contracting 7.5% in 1975 and 1976. Switzerland became increasingly dependent on oil imported from its main supplier, the OPEC cartel. HP 606609-001 CPU Fan

The 1973 international oil crisis caused Switzerland's energy consumption to decrease from 1973 to 1977. In 1974 there were three nationwide car-free Sundays when private transport was prohibited as a result of the oil supply shock. From 1977 onwards GDP grew, however Switzerland was also affected by the 1979 energy crisis which resulted in a short term decrease of Switzerland's energy consumption[Compaq Presario CQ60-301sl CPU Fan

In the 1980s, Switzerland was affected by the hike in oil prices which resulted in a decrease of energy consumption until 1982 when the economy contracted by 1.3%. From 1983 on both GDP and energy consumption grew].

In the 1990s, Switzerland's economy was marred by slow growth, having the weakest economic growth in Western Europe. The economy was affected by a 3-year-recession from 1991 to 1993 when the economy contracted by 2%, TOSHIBA Satellite L300 CPU Fan

which also became apparent in Switzerland's energy consumption and export growth rates. Switzerland's economy averaged no appreciable increase (only 0.6% annually) in gross domestic product (GDP).

After having unemployment rates lower than 1% prior to 1990, the 3-year-recession also caused the unemployment rate to rise to its all-time-peak of 5.3% in 1997. And thus, as of 2008, ASUS Eee PC 701 CPU Fan

Switzerland is at the second place among European countries with populations above one million in terms of nominal and purchasing power parity Gross Domestic Product per capita, behind Norway (see list). On numerous occasions in the 1990s real wages decreased since nominal wages couldn't keep up with inflation. However, beginning in 1997, a global resurgence in currency movement provided the necessary stimulus to the Swiss economy. Compaq Presario CQ60-305sa CPU Fan

It slowly gained momentum and peaked in the year 2000 with 3.7% growth in real terms.

In the early 2000s recession, being so closely linked to the economies of Western Europe and the United States, Switzerland was not able to escape the slowdown felt in these countries. After the worldwide stock market crashes in the wake of the 9/11 terrorism attacks there were more announcements of false enterprise statistics and exaggerated managers' wages. HP 637607-001 CPU Fan

In 2001 the rate of growth dropped to 1.2%, to 0.4% in 2002 and in 2003 the real GDP contracted by 0.2%. That economic slowdown had a noticeable impact on the labour market.

Many companies announced mass dismissals and thus the unemployment rate rose from its low of 1.9% in June 2000 to its peak of 3.9% in October 2004, although well below the European Union (EU) unemployment average of 8.9%. HP Pavilion dv7-3067nr CPU Fan

The consumer mood worsened and domestic consumption decreased

The exports of goods and services in the EU and the USA decreased as a result of the Swiss Franc's appreciation in value which caused an increase in prices of exported goods and services. On the other hand Switzerland's tourism sector slumped and room occupation rates by foreign guests decreased. HP Pavilion dv5-1210ez CPU Fan

Besides that a deficit of market competition in many branches of Switzerland's economy persisted].

On the 10.11.2002 the economics magazine Cash published 5 measures which political and economic actors were suggested to implement so that Switzerland would once again experience an economic revival:

1. Private consumption should be promoted with decent wage increases. In addition to that families with children should get discounts on their health insurances. Compaq Presario CQ50-211nr CPU Fan

2. Switzerland's national bank should revive investments by lowering interest rates. Besides that monetary institutes should increasingly credit consumers and offer cheaper land zones which are to be built on.

3. Switzerland's national bank is asked to devalue the Swiss Franc, especially compared to the Euro.

4. The government should implement the anti-cyclical measure of increasing budget deficits. Government spending should increase in the infrastructural and educational sectors. HP G56-114SA CPU Fan

Lowering taxes would make sense in order to promote private household consumption.

5. Flexible work schedules should be instituted, thus avoiding low demand dismissals.

These measures were applied with successful results along with the government's policy of the Magical Hexagon which consists of full employment, social equality, economic growth, environmental quality, positive trade balance and price stability. SONY Vaio VGN-CR21Z/N CPU Fan

The rebound which started in mid-2003 saw growth rate growth rate averaging 3% (2004 and 2005 saw a GDP growth of 2.5% and 2.6% respectively; for 2006 and 2007, the rate was 3.6%). In 2008, GDP growth was modest in the first half of the year while declining in the last two quarters. Because of the base effect, real growth came to 1.9%. While it contacted 1.9% in 2009, the economy started to pick up in Q3 and by the second quarter of 2010, it had surpassed its previous peak. Growth for 2010 stood at 2.6%[11] HP Pavilion dv7-4060eo CPU Fan

The stock market collapse has deeply affected investment income earned abroad. This has translated to a substantial fall in the surplus of the current account balance. In 2006, Switzerland recorded a 15.1% per GDP surplus. It went down to 9.1% in 2007 and further dropped to 1.8% in 2008. It recovered in 2009 and 2010 with a surplus of 11.9% and 14.6% respectively. As of the first quarter 2010, Switzerland house prices are still edging up.[12] Toshiba Satellite M70-252 CPU Fan

This is a chart of trend of gross domestic product of Switzerland at market prices estimated[11] by the Swiss Government with figures in millions of Swiss Francs.

The Swiss economy follows the typical First World model with respect to the economic sectors. Only a small minority of the workers are involved in the Primary or Agricultural sector (1.3% of the population, in 2006) while a larger minority is involved in the Secondary or Manufacturing sector (27.7% in 2012). Toshiba Satellite A100-455 CPU Fan

The majority of the working population are involved in the Tertiary or Services sector of the economy (71.0% in 2012).[13]

While most of the Swiss economic practices have been brought largely into conformity with the European Union's policies, some trade protectionism remains, particularly for the small agricultural sector. HP Pavilion dv5-2112br CPU Fan

Switzerland is one of the leaders in exports of high-end watches as well as clocks, companies such as TAG-Heuer, Hublot, Zenith amongst others produce most of the world's high-end watches, in 2011, the exports of Switzerland reached nearly 19.3 billion CHF. Swiss watch manufacturers exceeded their previous annual result by 19.2%. The exports of those watches mainly go to Asia (55%), Europe (29%), America (14%), Africa and Oceania (both 1%).[DELL BFB0505HA CPU Fan

In USD, Switzerland has an export, in 2011, of over USD$20 billion, making it the country with the highest export value of watches, followed by Hong Kong, at under USD$10 billion.[15]

However, China export the most watches (all watches), at a total of 682.1+ units (in millions), followed by Hong Kong at 402.7, then Switzerland at 29.8 million units. HP Pavilion dv6-3299en CPU Fan

Switzerland has an extensive industrial sector, it is not very well known around the world but present with companies in different industrial sectors such as food processing like Nestlé, chemical for industrial and construction use like Sika AG, pharmaceutical like Novartis and Roche, roof coating Sarnafil, among many others. SONY Vaio VGN-NW11Z/T CPU Fan

Switzerland is extremely protective of its agricultural industry. High tariffs and extensive domestic subsidisations encourage domestic production, which currently produces about 60% of the food consumed in the country.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Switzerland is subsidising more than 70% of its agriculture compared to 35% in the EU. Toshiba Satellite L550-20W CPU Fan

The 2007 Agricultural Program, recently adopted by the Swiss Federal Assembly, will increase subsidies by CHF 63 million to CHF 14.092 billion.

Protectionism acts to promote domestic production, but not to reduce prices or the cost of production, and there is no guarantee the increased domestic production is actually consumed internally; it may simply be being exported, to the profit of the producers. HP Pavilion dv7-4183sf CPU Fan

90 to 100% of potatoes, pork, veal, cattle and most milk products, are produced in the country. Beyond that, Swiss agriculture meets sixty-five per cent of the domestic food demand.[16]

The first reform in agricultural policies was in 1993. Among other changes, since 1998 Switzerland has linked the attribution of farm subsidies with the strict observance of good environmental practice. HP Pavilion dv7-3190ev CPU Fan

Before farmers can apply for subsidies, they must obtain certificates of environmental management systems (EMS) proving that they: "make a balanced use of fertilizers; use at least 7% of their farmland as ecological compensation areas; regularly rotate crops; adopt appropriate measures to protect animals and soil; make limited and targeted use of pesticides."[17] HP KSB06105HA CPU Fan

1,500 farms are driven out of business each year. But the number of organic farms increased by 3.3 percent between 2003 and 2004, and organic sales increased by 7 percent to $979 million.[18] Moreover, Swiss consumers consider less important the drawback of higher prices for organic food compared to locally produced, conventional food.

The CIA World Factbook estimates Switzerland's 2011 exports at $308.3 billion and the 2010 exports at $258.5 billion. HP G62-244CA CPU Fan

Imports are estimated to be $299.6 billion in 2011 and $246.2 billion in 2010. According to the World Factbook numbers, Switzerland is the 20th largest exporter and the 18th largest importer.[14]

The United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database has lower numbers for Switzerland's exports and imports. The UN calculates exports at $223.5 billion in 2011 and $185.8 billion in 2010. HP Pavilion dv7-3190ei CPU Fan

The value of all imports in 2011 was $197.0 billion and in 2010 it was $166.9 billion.[19]

Switzerland's largest trading partner is Germany. In 2009, 21% of Switzerland's exports and 29% of its imports came from Germany. The United States was the second largest destination of exports (9.1% of total exports) and the fourth largest source of imports (6.7%).[20] HP G62-244CA CPU Fan

Switzerland's neighbors made up next largest group; Italy was third for exports (8.6%) and second for imports (10%), France was fourth for exports (8%) and third for imports (8.1%) and Austria was fifth for exports (4.6%) and sixth for imports (3.7%). Major non-European trading partners included; Japan (seventh for exports with 3.6% and twelfth for imports with 2%), ASUS A6000R CPU Fan

China (eighth for exports and imports with 3.1% and 2.5% respectively) and Turkey (sixteenth for exports with 1.2% and ninth for imports with 2.3%).[20]

As a first world country with a skilled labor force, the majority of Swiss exports are precision or 'high tech' finished products. Switzerland's largest specific SITC categories of exports include;medicaments, glycosides and vaccines, watches, orthopaedic appliances and precious jewellery. HP Pavilion dv7-6011sg CPU Fan

Some raw ores or metals are exported, but the majority of the exports in this category are finished jewellery or other finished products. Agricultural products that Switzerland is famous for, such as cheese (0.29%), wine (0.05%) and chocolate (0.39%) all make up only a small portion of Swiss exports and agricultural products make up only a small portion of all exports.[20] Toshiba Satellite L300D-01P CPU Fan

Switzerland's main imports include; medicaments, cars, precious jewellery and other unclassified transactions. While Switzerland has a long tradition of manufacturing cars,[21] there are currently no large-scale assembly line automobile manufacturers in the country.

Switzerland has a highly developed tourism infrastructure, especially in the mountainous regions and cities, making it a good market for tourism-related equipment and services. Compaq Presario CQ60-409CA CPU Fan

14% of hotels were in Grisons, 12% each in the Valais and Eastern Switzerland, 11% in Central Switzerland and 9% in theBernese Oberland. The ratio of lodging nights in relation to resident population ("tourism intensity", a measure for the relative importance of tourism to local economy) was largest in Grisons (8.3) and Bernese Oberland (5.3), compared to a Swiss average of 1.3. HP Mini 110-3010sf CPU Fan

56.4% of lodging nights were by visitors from abroad (broken down by nationality: 16.5% Germany, 6.3% UK, 4.8% USA, 3.6% France, 3.0% Italy) [22]

The total financial volume associated with tourism, including transportation, is estimated to CHF 35.5 billion (as of 2010) although some of this comes from fuel tax and sales of motorway vignettes. The total gross value added from tourism is 14.9 billion. Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4056 CPU Fan

Tourism provides a total of 144,838 full time equivalent jobs in the entire country. The total financial volume of tourist lodging is 5.19 billion CHF and eating at the lodging provides an additional 5.19 billion. The total gross value added of 14.9 billion is about 2.9% of Switzerland's 2010 nominal GDP of 550.57 billion CHF.

Tourists are drawn to Switzerland's Alpine climate and landscapes, in particular for skiing and mountaineering. Toshiba Satellite M70-142 CPU Fan

As of 2011, tourism accounted for an estimated 2.9% of Switzerland's gross domestic product.

Tourism begins with British mountaineers climbing the main peaks of the Bernese Alps in the early 19th century (Jungfrau1811, Finsteraarhorn 1812). The Alpine Club in London is founded in 1857. Reconvalescence in the Alpine climate, in particular from Tuberculosis, DELL Inspiron E1505 CPU Fan

is another important branch of tourism in the 19th and early 20th centuries for example inDavos, Graubünden. Because of the prominence of the Bernese Alps in British mountaineering, the Bernese Oberland was long especially known as a tourist destination. Meiringen's Reichenbach Falls achieved literary fame as the site of the fictional death of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes (1893). HP 532613-001 CPU Fan

The first organised tourist holidays to Switzerland were offered during the 19th century by the Thomas Cook and Lunn Travel companies.

Official statistics of tourism were planned since 1852, but were only realized from 1934, and continued until 2003. Since 2004, the Federal Statistical Office had discontinued its own statistics, but collaborates with Switzerland Tourism in the publication of yearly "Swiss Tourism Figures". HP Envy 14-1080eo CPU Fan

In the year 2011 as a total number of 4,967 registered hotels or hostels, offering a total of 240,000 beds in 128,000 rooms. This capacity was saturated to 41.7% (compared to 39.7% in 2005), amounting to a total of 38.8 million lodging nights. 14% of hotels were in Grisons, 12% each in the Valais and Eastern Switzerland, 11% in Central Switzerland and 9% in the Bernese Oberland. ACER TravelMate 5230 CPU Fan

The ratio of lodging nights in relation to resident population ("tourism intensity", a measure for the relative importance of tourism to local economy) was largest in Grisons (8.3) and Bernese Oberland (5.3), compared to a Swiss average of 1.3. 56.4% of lodging nights were by visitors from abroad (broken down by nationality: 16.5% Germany, 6.3% UK, 4.8% USA, 3.6% France, 3.0% Italy) [2] Lenovo 3000 G430 CPU Fan

The total financial volume associated with tourism, including transportation, is estimated to CHF 35.5 billion (as of 2010) although some of this comes from fuel tax and sales of motorway vignettes. The total gross value added from tourism is 14.9 billion. Tourism provides a total of 144,838 full time equivalent jobs in the entire country. The total financial volume of tourist lodging is 5.19 billion CHF and eating at the lodging provides an additional 5.19 billion. ASUS EEE PC 1215N CPU Fan

The total gross value added of 14.9 billion is about 2.9% of Switzerland's 2010 nominal GDP of 550.57 billion CHF.The major airport of Switzerland is at Zurich, main railway connections are to Geneva, Zurich and Basel. The main connection across the Alps is via the Gotthard tunnels (road and railway).The most visited Swiss tourist attractions are first, the Rhine Falls, second, the Berne Bear exhibit (both for free), and third, with over 1.8 million paid entries: Zoo Basel. Dell Vostro 3750 CPU Fan

In 2003, the financial sector comprised an estimated 11.6% of Switzerland's GDP and employed approximately 196,000 people (136,000 of whom work in the banking sector); this represents about 5.6% of the total Swiss workforce.[25]

Swiss neutrality and national sovereignty, long recognized by foreign nations, have fostered a stable environment in which the banking sector was able to develop and thrive. Toshiba Satellite L500-018 CPU Fan

Switzerland has maintained neutrality through both World Wars, is not a member of the European Union, and was not even a member of the United Nations until 2002.[26][27]

Currently an estimated 28 percent of all funds held outside the country of origin (sometimes called "offshore" funds) are kept in Switzerland.[28] In 2009 Swiss banks managed 5.4 trillion Swiss Francs.[29] COMPAQ Presario CQ42-116TU CPU Fan

The Bank of International Settlements, an organization that facilitates cooperation among the world's central banks, is headquartered in the city of Basel. Founded in 1930, the BIS chose to locate in Switzerland because of the country's neutrality, which was important to an organization founded by countries that had been on both sides of World War I.[30] HP Pavilion dv6-2115eg CPU Fan

Foreign banks operating in Switzerland manage 870 billion Swiss francs worth of assets (as of May 2006).

Banking in Switzerland is regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), which derives its authority from a series of federal statutes. The country's tradition of bank secrecy, which dates to the Middle Ages, was first codified in the Banking Law of 1934.[1] Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4056 CPU Fan

In 2011, banks represented 59.4% of the total value added of the Swiss financial sector, totalling CHF 35.0 billion representing 6.2% of the country's GDP.[2] UBS and Credit Suisse, the two largest banks in Switzerland, were ranked globally at #19 and #25 among banks, with assets of approximately US$1.375 trillion and US$1.090 trillion, respectively.[3] HP 646578-001 CPU Fan

As of 11 October 2008, the banking industry in Switzerland has an average leverage ratio (assets/networth) of 29 to 1, while the industry's short-term liabilities are equal to 260 percent of the Swiss GDP or 1,273 percent of the Swiss national debt.

Banking began in the eighteenth century by way of the riches of merchants. SONY VAIO PCG-6L2L CPU Fan

Wegelin & Co., established in 1741, was the oldest bank in Switzerland  until it restructured into a new legal entity in 2013.[8] Hentsch & Cie and Lombard Odier were both founded in 1796 in Geneva as private banks, and Pictet and Cie was established in 1805 as a merchant bank.Hentsch & Cie was a founding member of the Swiss National bank during 1852. Toshiba Satellite X205-S9349 CPU Fan

Switzerland is a prosperous nation with a per capita gross domestic product higher than that of most western Europeannations. In addition, the value of the Swiss franc (CHF) has been relatively stable compared with that of othercurrencies.[15] In 2009, the financial sector comprised 11.6% of Switzerland's GDP and employed approximately 195,000 people (136,000 of whom work in the banking sector); this represents about 5.6% of the total Swiss workforce. Furthermore, Swiss banks employ an estimated 103,000 people abroad.[16]

Swiss neutrality and national sovereignty, long recognized by foreign nations, have fostered a stable environment in which the banking sector was able to develop and thrive. HP Pavilion dv7-3020es CPU Fan

Switzerland has maintained neutrality through both World Wars, is not a member of the European Union, and was not a member of the United Nations until 2002.[17][18]

Currently an estimated one-third of all worldwide funds held outside their country of origin (sometimes called "offshore" funds) are kept in Switzerland. In 2001 Swiss banks managed US$2.6 trillion. HP G62-369TX CPU Fan

The following year they handled US$400 billion less which has been attributed to both a bear market and stricter regulations on Swiss banking.[19] By 2007 this figure has risen to roughly CHF6.7 trillion (US$6.4 trillion).]

The Bank of International Settlements, an organization that facilitates cooperation among the world's central banks, is headquartered in the city of Basel. HP 13.V1.BJ195.F.GN CPU Fan

Founded in 1930, the BIS chose to locate in Switzerland because of the country's neutrality, which was important to an organization founded by countries that had been on both sides of World War I.[20]Foreign banks operating in Switzerland manage CHF870 billion Swiss worth of assets (as of May 2006).The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) is a public law institution that supervises most banking-related activities as well as securities markets and investment funds.[22] Toshiba Satellite L675D-S7016 CPU Fan

Regulatory authority is derived from the Swiss Financial Market Supervision Act (FINMASA) and Article 98 of the Swiss Federal Constitution.

The office of the Swiss Banking Ombudsman, founded in 1993, is sponsored by the Swiss Banking Ombudsman Foundation, which was established by the Swiss Bankers Association. HP Pavilion dv7-1451nr CPU Fan

The ombudsman's services, which are offered free of charge, include mediation and assistance to persons searching for dormant assets. The ombudsman handles about 1,500 complaints raised against banks yearly.[23]

In October 2013, the Swiss government stated that it intended to sign an international agreement sponsored by the OECD that, if ratified by Parliament, will align Swiss bank practices with those of other countries and in effect end the special secrecy that clients of Swiss banks had enjoyed in the past. HP G62-a57SG CPU Fan

In 1934, the Swiss Federal Assembly passed the Federal Act on Banks and Savings Banks (colloquially known as the Banking Law of 1934), which mainly concerned administrative matters such as bank supervision. The provisions found in Article 47(b), were added before passage of the bill due to Nazi authorities' attempts to investigate the assets of Jews and "enemies of the state" held in Switzerland. SONY Vaio VGN-NR31S/S CPU Fan

Swiss banks, as well as the post office (which handles some financial transactions) use an electronic payments system known as Swiss Interbank Clearing (SIC). The system is supervised by the Swiss National Bank and is operated via a joint venture.[26] SIC handled over 250 million transactions in 2005, with a turnover value of 41 trillion Swiss francs. IBM 91P9252 CPU Fan

As of 2008, there are 327 authorized banks and securities dealers in Switzerland,[28] ranging from the "Two Big Banks" down to small banks serving the needs of a single community or a few special clients.

UBS and Credit Suisse are respectively the largest and second largest Swiss banks and account for over 50% of all deposits in Switzerland; each has extensive branch networks throughout the country and most international centres. Toshiba Satellite M70-122 CPU Fan

Due to their size and complexity, UBS and Credit Suisse are subject to an extra degree of supervision from the Federal Banking Commission.

UBS came into existence in June 1998, when Union Bank of Switzerland, founded in 1862, and Swiss Bank Corporation, founded in 1872,merged. Headquartered in Zurich and Basel, it is Switzerland's largest bank. SONY UDQFWPH22FQU CPU Fan

It maintains seven main offices around the world (four in the United States and one each in London, Tokyo, and Hong Kong) and branches on five continents.

Credit Suisse is the second-largest Swiss bank. Based in Zurich, it was founded in 1856; its market capitalization (as of 2007) is US$95.2 billion, and the company has about 40,000 employees. HP Pavilion dv6-2150ei CPU Fan

Credit Suisse Group offers private banking, investment banking and asset management services. It acquired The First Boston Corporation in 1988 and merged with the Winterthur insurance company in 1997; the latter was sold to AXA in 2006.[30] The asset management services were sold to Aberdeen Asset Management in 2008 during the GFC. HP G42-367TU CPU Fan

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) serves as the country's central bank. Founded by the Federal Act on the Swiss National Bank (16 January 1906), it began conducting business on 20 June 1907. Its shares are publicly traded, and are held by the cantons, cantonal banks, and individual investors; the federal government does not hold any shares.[31] Toshiba Satellite P100-238 CPU Fan

Although a central bank often has regulatory authority over the country's banking system, the SNB does not; regulation is solely the role of the Federal Banking Commission.

The term private bank refers to a bank that offers private banking services and in its legal form is a partnership. The first private banks were created in St. Gallen in the mid-18th century and in Geneva in the late 18th century as partnerships, and some are still in the hands of the original families such as Hottinger and Mirabaud. ACER Aspire 5739 CPU Fan

In Switzerland, such private banks are called private bankers (a protected term) to distinguish them from the other private banks which are typically shared corporations. Historically in Switzerland a minimum of CHF1 million was required to open an account, however, over the last years many private banks have lowered their entry hurdles to CHF250,000 for private investors. IBM ThinkPad T40 2678 CPU Fan

There are, as of 2006, 24 cantonal banks; these banks are state-guaranteed semi-governmental organizations controlled by one of Switzerland's 26 cantons that engage in all banking businesses.[33] The largest cantonal bank, the Zurich Cantonal Bank, had a 2005 net income of CHF810 million.

Raiffeisen Switzerland "assumes the role of central bank" in providing treasury services, and is the third largest group consisting of 328 banks in 2011, 390 in 2012 with 1,155 branches.[35][36] During February 2012 P. Vincenz was chief executive.[37] During January an announcement was made that the non-U.S. businesses ofWegelin & Co, IBM Thinkpad T43 CPU Fan

the oldest Swiss bank, would be bought by the Raiffeisen group. The group has 3 million plus clients within Switzerland.Swiss bank secrecy protects the privacy of bank clients; the protections afforded under Swiss law are similar to confidentiality protections between doctors and patients or lawyers and their clients. The Swiss government views the right to privacy as a fundamental principle that should be protected by all democratic countries. IBM ThinkPad T43 2668 CPU Fan

While privacy is protected, in practice all bank accounts are linked to an identified individual. Moreover, the bank secrecy is not absolute: a prosecutor or judge may issue a "lifting order" in order to grant law enforcement access to information relevant to a criminal investigation.[38]

In October 2013, the Swiss government stated that it intended to sign an international agreement sponsored by the OECD that, if ratified by Parliament, IBM ThinkPad T43 1871 CPU Fan

will align Swiss bank practices with those of other countries and in effect end the special secrecy that clients of Swiss banks had enjoyed in the past.

Swiss law distinguishes between tax evasion (non-reporting of income) and tax fraud (active deception). International legal assistance used to be granted only with respect to tax fraud. Under pressure from the OECD and the G20, ACER Travelmate 8104WLMI CPU Fan

the Swiss government decided in March 2009 to abolish the distinction between tax evasion and tax fraud in dealings with foreign clients. Switzerland adheres to the international OECD standards with regard to administrative assistance in tax matters (decision to take over the OECD Model Tax Convention, in particular Article 26)[40] DELL Latitude E4300 CPU Fan

For Swiss taxpayers the distinction remains in place. Although not considered a crime and hence not prosecuted in a penal court, tax evasion is a serious offence under Swiss tax law and hefty financial penalties apply. In domestic prosecutions, banking secrecy may be lifted by court order in cases of tax fraud or particularly severe cases of tax evasion. ASUS F80S CPU Fan

Pressure on Switzerland has been applied by several states and international organizations attempting to alter the Swiss privacy policy. The European Union, whose member countries geographically surround Switzerland, has complained about member states' nationals using Swiss banks to avoid taxation in their home countries. The EU has long sought a harmonized tax regime among its member states, HP Pavilion dv5-1058eo CPU Fan

although many Swiss banking officials (and, according to some polls, the public) are resisting any such changes.[1]

However, Switzerland did not want to be seen as an obstacle to closer tax cooperation among EU-member states and decided to support the international efforts to adequately tax cross-border investment income. IBM 13N5182 CPU Fan

The retention tax agreed with the European Union (EU) in the taxation of savings income agreement is a suitable and efficient means of doing so. The EU is committed to eliminating existing loopholes in the system of taxation of savings income. Switzerland has expressed to the EU its willingness in principle to correspondingly adjust the taxation of savings income. IBM Thinkpad T30 2366-AA3 CPU Fan

Here it should be noted that Switzerland has adopted the OECD standard on administrative assistance and that the Federal Council rejects the automatic exchange of information.[43] Since July 1, 2005, Switzerland has charged a withholding tax on all interest earned in the personal Swiss accounts of European Union residents.

Switzerland is not a member of the European Union but, since December 2008, is a part of the Schengen agreement. IBM Thinkpad T30 CPU Fan

Swiss bank accounts cannot be opened without the holder signing a legal document asserting that they have no outstanding financial obligations to the IRS. Despite this, Swiss banks have been criticized for improperly shielding tax evaders.

In January 2003, the United States Department of Treasury announced a new information-sharing agreement under the already extant U.S.- HP 535438-001 CPU Fan

Swiss Income Tax Convention;[45] the agreement was intended to facilitate more effective tax information exchange between the two countries.[46] However, Swiss policy has continued to come under international criticism, and in March 2009 Switzerland agreed to renegotiate more effective tax cooperation with the United States and other countries.[47] DELL Inspiron N3010 CPU Fan

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