Monday, December 7, 2015

Switzerland vs Singapore, Hong Kong and other financial centers

I’m not terribly bullish on Switzerland long term. Their largest, or one of their largest industries is the financial industry, and they have totally botched it over the last few decades. They are no longer competitive. When you have a monopoly or semi-monopoly corrosion occurs from within and people don’t work as hard and prices go up. The Swiss had a monopoly on finance, but they got lazy and their performance was not good and their prices were very high. Singapore, Hong Kong, and many other financial centers are growing partly because the Swiss got complacent as everybody does after long periods of dominance. I don’t see the Swiss financial industry ever coming back to what it was before. This has nothing to do with bank secrecy or the rest of it, that is just another nail in the coffin of the Swiss financial industry. I don’t see it continuing to be a great dynamic economy at all. 

There are some strengths, people like to ski there for instance and people want to live there for many reasons including tax reasons, it is a lower tax place to do business. Anybody who moves to Switzerland now has to do so because he loves it, not because of the advantages that were present 30 – 40 years ago.