SwissBanking
The online magazine of the Swiss Bankers Association
December 13, 2019

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Swiss Asset Managers’ Survey:  The purchasing power of the Swiss is likely to increase further

Swiss Asset Managers’ Survey: The purchasing power of the Swiss is likely to increase further

The Asset Management Platform Switzerland collects the views of Swiss-based asset management firms twice a year in the Swiss Asset Managers’ Survey. The topics covered include the economic and monetary policy outlook and financial market trends.

Some of the key findings of the survey include:

  • The outlook for the Swiss economy has weakened. Geopolitical uncertainties and the economic downturn abroad are giving rise to concern. Experts expect the Swiss franc to remain strong.
  • The outlook for the asset management industry in Switzerland has further weakened.
  • The trend becomes the norm: half of the asset managers surveyed have invested more than 25% of total assets in accordance with ESG standards.

Economy, geopolitics and financial markets

Asset management experts believe that geopolitical uncertainty has grown significantly and is increasingly weighing on the Swiss economy, the biggest threat to which remains the economic downturn that is looming internationally. Concern over the Swiss franc’s renewed firming has increased: almost one in four people who took part in the survey see it as the greatest risk for the Swiss economy. Experts also think that the Swiss franc’s strength will persist. The currency they see as most likely to appreciate against the Swiss franc is the British pound. The outlook for the Swiss stock market is still believed to be positive. Some 95% of respondents expect a positive return over the next 12 months, driven by expansionary monetary policy and a positive macroeconomic backdrop in spite of rising uncertainty. Almost all asset managers expect negative interest rates not to be abolished before 2022.

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Outlook for the asset management industry

The outlook for the asset management industry in Switzerland has worsened further. Over a third of investment experts anticipate a negative business environment over the next 12 months. Only half as many are optimistic, whereas just under half of survey participants predict a stagnating environment. Asset managers see the performance of their products as the main success factor, followed by the availability of highly qualified staff. Unrestricted access to the EU market, meanwhile, does not appear to be as important. It would seem that many of the asset managers surveyed have found ways to gain access to EU clients or opted to focus on other markets.

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Sustainable investments

The volume of assets managed in line with sustainability criteria has increased sharply relative to the spring survey. Half of the asset managers surveyed already have more than 25% of their total assets invested in accordance with environmental, social and governance standards. Client demand is still seen as the main driver of growth in this area, although regulatory pressure appears to be increasing as well. Two factors that are believed to be holding sustainable products back are a lack of transparency and insufficiently long track records. Last but not least, more than three quarters of respondents rate the role and responsibility of asset managers in the fight against climate change as important or very important.

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For further results of the study click here