Potential change in Swiss banking laws and impact on Swiss economy?


I've been reading about the UBS case and how the new CEO, Oswald Gruber, believes Switzerland should change it's bank secrecy laws.  With pressure from the U.S., U.K., German and other governments - do you think this will happen?  If yes, I'd imagine it would be pretty devastating to a pillar of the Swiss economy.

Tying this into WISdom, how might the watch industry in Switzerland be affected?  Similar to how the meltdown in the U.S. financial and credit systems in the U.S. have affected the entire U.S., and world, economy.  I would think other pillar industries of the Swiss economy would also be drastically affected.

Your thoughts?

Best Regards, Dan
two questions in one....
03/01/2009 - 17:02
Dan, I really don't think that anytime soon the bank secrecy laws in Switzerlqnd will chqnge qnytime soon. The whole Swiss banking system has been built on this qnd it would be close to a national catastrophe if things changed. The US/UBS case is slightly different as it seems to have been a case of balant fraud§ Like all industries the watch industry turns to banks to fnance their activities and projects, the current economic situation has had the obvious effect of banks no longer lending to anyone. The watch industry is suffering and every day you hear of layoffs. The question eveyone is asking is just how bad things are and when we will touch the bottom...but I guess no one has the answer to that one
State-sponsored crime?
03/01/2009 - 18:53
At the moment, the banks and Swiss government will cooperate with foreign governments to identify tax fraud only if the suspect has submitted false documents about their income.  The trick that supports the Swiss banking industry has been to simply not declare anything.  In that case the banks and government will not cooperate with investigating what is still a fraud!  Simply put, undeclared money was safe in Switzerland. How many of these tax cheats use their excess funds to buy luxury watches?  Or does undelared money find it's way as investments into the watch industry?  The objective of the tax cheat is to launder the money through the Swiss banks so they can find a way to return it as legitimate assets.   I too wonder if those tendrils of corruption reach into the watch industry!  Is it any different than the infiltration of the mafia into the Italian economy?
03/02/2009 - 03:58
I believe UBS took quite a big hit in this ABCP fiasco along with several other European banks (Paribas being one). Many of the US banks were also hit big time. Its interesting that apart from the Royal Bank in Canada, (or was it CIBC) few of the bank were hit hard and TD_Waterhouse, hardly at all...but I digress... Anyway, apart from the fraudulent activity, I suppose the gov't wondered whether it would have been so bad had there not been these secrecy laws with respect to banks. But I think it wouldn't have made much difference. All these banks stuck their necks out too far and down came the axe! JB