Adopting global standards

The international environment has undergone sweeping changes since the global financial crisis. The operating framework for the Swiss financial centre has been revised in line with international developments over the past few years. International bodies verify the adoption of global standards by carrying out assessments of individual countries.

An array of flagpoles with flags of various countries.
Switzerland plays a part in drafting new financial and tax standards and adopting international reforms. © PRS

As a leading international financial centre, Switzerland plays an important role in the global regulatory agenda and adopts the main financial market reforms that have been agreed. This strengthens financial stability and bolsters the credibility of the Swiss financial centre. 

Changed environment following global financial crisis

The international environment has undergone sweeping changes since the global financial crisis triggered in 2007 by sub-prime mortgages in the United States. The operating framework for the Swiss financial centre has been revised in line with international developments over the past few years. Switzerland has also played an active role in drafting new financial and tax standards.

The main revisions concern capital adequacy and liquidity requirements for banks. In addition, Switzerland has updated its legislation on financial market infrastructures, derivatives trading and combating money laundering. World-leading solvency requirements had already been introduced for Swiss insurers some time ago. These are recognised as being equivalent to EU regulations. 

Automatic exchange of information

The transition to automatic exchange of information in tax matters, which is broadly supported within the international community, constitutes a fundamental shift in how the Swiss financial centre deals with foreign clients. The Swiss legislation on the automatic exchange of information entered into force on 1 January 2017. A first exchange of information with 36 selected partner countries thus occurred in 2018. Other states will follow in the coming years. 

Adopting international standards

International bodies such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Global Forum, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Financial Stability Board (FSB) conduct peer review processes and country assessments to check how global standards are being put into practice. Switzerland has a considerable interest in all states being subject to the same rules and in achieving good results itself in the country reviews.

It will continue to work internationally recognised standards into its financial market policy going forward.