Explaining the Presence of Foreign Financial Intermediaries in Switzerland

  • Thomas Helbling
Conference paper
Part of the Studies in Contemporary Economics book series (CONTEMPORARY)


The presence of a large number of foreign banks (represented either by branches or by subsidiaries) and other financial institutions owned by foreigners has always characterized an international financial center. A large share of the international transactions processed in those centers is carried out by foreign owned financial units. In London, branches and subsidiaries of foreign banks contributed 85 percent to all international bank lending in mid-1991 (BIS (1991), p. 23). In Switzerland, they contributed 73 percent at the same time. They also generate a significant share of the value added created by an international financial center and are part of its reputation. Switzerland is no exception in this respect. A visitor walking through Geneva or Zurich will notice all the advertisements of well known and less well known foreign financial intermediaries. At the end of 1990, the 245 foreign financial intermediaries which were operating in Switzerland owned 33.6 percent of all cross-border assets of all financial intermediaries in Switzerland, earned 20.7 percent of all intermediaries’ total income, and had 14.8 percent of all employees in this sector on their payroll.2 All three shares, as well as the number of financial intermediaries owned by foreigners, have been substantially increasing over the last four decades.


Foreign Direct Investment Market Share Financial Intermediary Foreign Asset Foreign Bank 
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© Physica-Verlag Heidelberg 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Helbling

There are no affiliations available

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