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Securing market access – yes to the framework agreement

Securing market access – yes to the framework agreement

The Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) supports the institutional agreement with the EU. It has declared its clear approval for the conclusion of the institutional agreement between Switzerland and the EU (the agreement) on the basis of the draft text. For the Swiss banks, the agreement is an important step that will enable the necessary and practicable market access solutions for the sector to be formalised. However, there are still unresolved points that need to be clarified upon signing.

At the beginning of this year, the SBA published its basic position on the agreement. Since the launch of the Federal Council consultations it has conducted an indepth analysis of the current outcome of the negotiations and has now declared its official support for the conclusion of the institutional agreement with the EU.

Securing and further developing the bilateral approach is essential for the Swiss banking sector as an important export industry. The agreement under discussion improves legal certainty and creates the basis for securing and further developing bilateralism and market access, while respecting sovereignty. Access to the EU market is largely lacking at present for the Swiss banks.

The agreement currently has no elements covering financial services. As part of the further talks with the EU, the SBA is therefore calling for concrete steps to be taken to improve market access for the banking sector. The focus must be on the conclusion of specific equivalence processes for finance, a fundamental improvement in the current equivalence regime, and sensible and practicable market access solutions.

Market access is of central importance for Switzerland as the global market leader in cross-border wealth management, given that a substantial proportion of assets under management come from customers domiciled in the EU. The key aim is to keep the value created by this important sector here in Switzerland.

The SBA welcomes the agreement as a whole, but from the banks’ point of view there are certain unresolved points that need to be clarified upon signing in order to boost acceptance of the agreement domestically. These mainly involve clarifications concerning the scope of the obligation to adopt legislation, particularly in relation to the Citizens’ Rights Directive, the impact of the agreed principles on state aid and the role of social partners under the EU’s Posting of Workers Directive.

The SBA has published a position paper on the framework agreement which can be found here.