Ecusson de la République et du canton de Genève


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Banking & finance

Over the past 200 years, Geneva’s financial sector, most famously its private banks, has built a reputation for reliability and confidentiality. Today, Geneva’s financial sector includes 140 banks, of which 62 are foreign-owned.

According to the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the volume of assets under management in Switzerland is CHF 11,300 billion – close to 10% of worldwide assets under management – making it the third-largest financial market after the US and the UK.

Geneva is the birthplace and capital of international asset management. The Geneva financial center has become a benchmark of excellence for other financial centers and is a key center with regard to private transnational asset management. Institutional asset management in Geneva is also steadily growing.

Geneva is also recognized as one of the most important centers for the financing of commodities trading. Thanks to local banking expertise and the presence of numerous trading companies, Geneva has become a major hub for oil, sugar, and cereals trading. Simultaneously, a dense network of other financially-oriented activities and services has also developed, including international lawyers, accountants and auditors, management and business consultants, insurance and reinsurance companies, inspection and arbitration firms, computer specialists and, most recently, information security specialists

The Geneva financial sector directly employs 35,000 people. Numerous MBAs and specialized training courses as well as specialized immersion programs contribute to the development of professional skills in Geneva.

Geneva’s long banking history

  • In 1387, the Church grants the people of Geneva a privilege unique in Christendom: the right to lend money at interest
  • During the 14th and 15th centuries, Geneva becomes one of the major European trade fair capitals: traders turn into bankers
  • From the 17th century onward, Geneva bankers build a global commercial network, financing the Dutch West Indies Company, the Royal Bank of England, the Royal Manufacture of Mirrors (Saint-Gobain, the first industrial company in Europe) and many other ventures
  • In the 19th century, Geneva bankers play an active part in the industrial and commercial development of Switzerland, Europe and the United States by financing railway companies and issuing public loans
  • In 1857, the Geneva Stock Exchange becomes the first of its kind in Switzerland, a quarter of a century before Zurich and Basel, and among the most important in Europe at the time

Geneva's main advantages for the banking and finance industry

  • Political and legal stability
  • Attractive living conditions
  • Guaranteed preservation of business confidentiality and client privacy
  • Strict anti-money laundering legislation

The Geneva Financial Center is the trade association of the banking and finance industry. Its purpose is to provides information about the sector and promote the development and influence of the financial center.