Pie chart showing results of SWISS BANKING SURVEY: Do you expect current developments in connection with banking secrecy and withholding tax to have an overall positive or negative impact on Switzerland’s banking industry?Competition and
consolidation between Swiss private banks is set to intensify in
2011 due to the impact of banking secrecy, fiscal transparency and
cross-border services.

The inaugural Ernst & Young
 Bank Barometer
of 60 Swiss banks found a
majority (59%) rated competition as being most fierce in the
private banking sector. This rose to 78% among the 20 private
banking respondents.

About 47% of respondents expected
consolidation in the banking sector in the next 6-12 months, this
increased to 53% among private banking respondents with 74% of
private banks expecting consolidation before the end of the


Tax crackdowns beneficial

Surprisingly, 85% of private banks saw the
possible introduction of withholding tax and the legalisation of
untaxed assets as beneficial to Switzerland’s position as a
financial centre.

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The banks ranked the regulation of
cross-border activities (48%) and tax treaties and fiscal
transparency (24%) as the two regulatory issues to have the
greatest impact on their operating models in the medium term.

Twenty of the banks surveyed were private
banks, 15 were foreign banks, 13 were regional banks, and 12 were
cantonal banks.