To date there has been scarcely any data on asset management in Switzerland. In particular, there has been no information available on the managed volumes of discretionary asset management mandates from the perspective of Switzerland as a production location. To get a better take on the significance of this business, and to present it more effectively in the overall context of the Swiss financial center, the Swiss Funds & Asset Management Association SFAMA conducted a corresponding survey of Swiss market participants together with The Boston Consulting Group. The survey focused on the question of where the management of the assets took place, and covered assets managed in Switzerland for private and institutional investors alike. This approach differs fundamentally from the current statistics of the Swiss National Bank, which record the assets booked in Switzerland, and also from the fund domicile statistics of Swiss Fund Data and Morningstar, which focus on the volumes distributed in Switzerland or the legal domicile of the funds.
The findings clearly demonstrate the fact that discretionary mandates are of pivotal importance for asset management and the Swiss financial industry as a whole. Switzerland is already a major provider in terms of the professionalism and quality of asset management services. Thanks to its leading role in global wealth management, a strong insurance sector, and a well-developed pensions system, the Swiss financial center has an excellent basis to start from.
Extrapolating the figures, banks, securities dealers, FINMA-authorized asset managers of collective investment schemes and fund management companies managed around CHF 1,240 billion in discretionary asset management mandates in Switzerland at the end of 2015. This is more than the assets managed by Swiss pension funds, and is in fact twice as high as Switzerland’s GDP, which underscores the importance of Swiss asset management in the mandates business. The institutions that participated in the survey also stated that they managed some CHF 320 billion in foreign-law collective investment schemes in Switzerland. Added to this there are more than CHF 700 billion in collective investment schemes under Swiss law. It is therefore possible to conclude that the overall total of the Swiss asset management market spread over the two product groups is well in excess of CHF 2 trillion. Switzerland thus enjoys a leading position in Europe, sharing third spot with Germany behind the UK and France in the ranking list of the largest European asset management locations.
Companies and institutions hold sway in the Swiss market for discretionary mandates, which is testament to the competence and expertise of Swiss asset management. This group of investors accounts for assets totaling CHF 820 billion, with the corresponding figure for private investors being CHF 420 billion. This corresponds to one third of the Swiss asset management market for discretionary mandates. At 30%, foreign investors also make up a significant part of this market, indicating Switzerland’s appeal as a location. In the case of companies and institutions, one in five francs managed comes from abroad. For private investors, this figure stands at around 50%. The aim has to be to maintain and expand these levels. However, this will only be possible if the exportability of Swiss asset management – i.e. the compatibility with international standards – is in place and visible. One of the ways we are seeking to achieve this is via the project for a Swiss financial services act, where we are supporting the basic substance of the version submitted to parliament.
by Markus Fuchs, Managing Director Swiss Funds & Asset Management Association SFAMA
email@example.com / www.sfama.ch
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