Switzerland Still A Great Place To Take Your Money On Vacation: HSBC Chief

Swiss banks can do other stuff besides tax evasion, y'know.

They'll take your money for a walk here twice a week.

You might think that the recent death of Switzerland’s most cherished industry and hobby, tax evasion, might prompt some soul-searching in its Alpine ski lodges and lakeside châteaux. You might think that this identity crisis would be particularly acute in certain corners of Geneva and Zürich, where bankers have plied their time-honored and secretive trade for centuries. But if you did, you would be wrong! Not only is there still so very much to love about Switzerland—the fondue, the yodeling, the chocolate, the high-energy physics, the Roger Federer, the strangely-located jazz festivals, the Ricola, the alphorns, the alphorns in Ricola commercials—there’s still plenty to love about Swiss banks, according to one Swiss banker, HSBC’s Franco Morra. Sure, they probably can’t help you hide your millions from your local tax authority anymore. But this isn’t so much a setback as a chance to show how good the Swiss are at other banking stuff.

Franco Morra, the CEO of HSBC’s Swiss bank, said during a public event in Zurich on Tuesday that he thinks the deterioration of Swiss bank secrecy is “an opportunity to catch future growth….”

“There is no country like Switzerland” when it comes to managing offshore wealth, he said….

Private banking business with wealthy clients done out of Switzerland has “been quite resilient” despite recent developments, Mr. Morra said on Tuesday. “Clients are not panicking, at all.”

“Switzerland as a financial center,” he said, “is still attractive.”

‘There is (Still) No Country Like Switzerland,’ Says HSBC’s Swiss Chief [WSJ MoneyBeat blog]