H.E. Ms. Suzanne Streit:Financial Regulation-Encouraging to Innovate and Anticipate

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H.E. Ms. Suzanne Streit

It seems difficult to associate the Swiss banking sector with innovation. Despite banking services have a long tradition in Switzerland and enjoy a strong international recognition. Nevertheless, the Swiss government is well aware that in the light of today’s growing international competition and global shifts like digitalization, there is no room for complacency.

Since December 2020, the Swiss government is implementing a new strategy in financial market policy. The objective is to combine traditional Swiss strengths, such as high productivity, stability, security and trust, with an openness for new technological and international developments, such as fintech, green fintech, artificial intelligence and sustainable finance.

With this goal, regulators need to be forward-looking and anticipatory, especially when it comes to upcoming trends. And we need to create certainty by laying a sound legal framework which allows and encourages innovation. Specific actions of this strategy include efforts to increase the price transparency for investments, ensure resilience, improve exportability and shape international system design. The pressing necessity to shift to a more sustainable economy also led my government to announce concrete measures in terms of sustainable finance. In this field, it is important to anticipate. The objective of the measures is to create framework conditions that help the Swiss financial center to stay competitive and in the same time to effectively contribute to implement the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

Beside the publication of Sustainable Finance Guidelines in 2020 and the setting up of a Green Fintech Network, the government launched Swiss Climate Scores in June 2022. Swiss Climate Scores is a new tool providing institutional and private investors with comparable and meaningful information on the extent to which their financial investments are compatible with international climate goals. The voluntary use of the Swiss Climate Scores is intended to make investment decision more efficient, offering best practice transparency on the Paris alignment of investments.

On the bilateral financial cooperation, Chinese and Swiss authorities are standing in regular exchange. In 2021, a working plan has been adopted to help enhance the bilateral financial market cooperation. In July 2022, the China-Switzerland Stock Connect has been successfully launched, allowing for the first time Chinese companies listed at the Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges to trade Global Depository Receipts and raise funds at the Swiss Stock Exchange in Zurich. Further cooperation in bank and wealth management as well as in insurance and reinsurance is also under discussion between China and Switzerland. In all those areas, we see considerable potential for cooperation between Swiss and Chinese actors. On a broader scope, Switzerland is following China’s opening up measures very closely and appreciates all measures taken over the past years.

It is unquestionable that these efforts will benefit China: international firms have significant global expertise in the financial markets, and their increased participation will help develop the Chinese market, raise market standards and further introduce international best practices. Switzerland and its financial sectors are looking ahead to an open and fair competition in the Chinese financial market.

H.E. Suzanne Streit
H.E. Ms. Suzanne Streit

Counsellor, Head of Economic, Financial and Commercial Section a.i. Embassy of Switzerland in China

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