Inproceedings: an article in a conference proceedings.
The Regulation of Foreign Banks in Switzerland (1956-1972)
Title of the conference
Foreign Financial Institutions & National Financial Systems
The European Association for Banking and Financial History
Aspey M., Hertner P., Kaczmar K., Skiba J., Stiefel D., Valerio N.
Studies in Banking and Financial History
The Swiss financial centre witnessed an important shift during the 1960s: the number of foreign banks and their importance in relation to the domestic banking sector significantly increased. Faced with this rapid development, Swiss bank representatives and political and monetary authorities reacted strongly. This paper investigates the evolution of the regulatory response by Swiss banking policy actors to the proliferation of foreign financial in- stitutions. In 1969, those reactions led to the adoption of a discriminatory regime, setting higher entry barriers for foreign banks than for domestic institutions. After examining possible reasons for the attractiveness of Switzerland to foreign banks, this paper will analyse the concerns and fears of the domestic banking sector and its regulators. In this regard, it appears that issues such as mere competition, preservation of the international reputation of the Swiss banks and anti-inflationary monetary policy were central to the chosen regulatory regime. Moreover, this paper shows that foreign banks were used as scapegoats in the evolution of the Swiss system of banking supervision. They were more tightly regulated, yet the general framework remained very lax.
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