About 300 bankers from all over Switzerland gathered late Thursday afternoon in Neuchâtel to discuss global debt, which has reached an all-time high. Federal Councilor Guy Parmelin recalled that the situation is very tense in terms of energy.
“The times we are going through put the most optimistic to the test,” said the head of the Department of Economy, Education and Research. “The government is doing everything to avoid a shortage (note: regarding electricity supply) but we are preparing for the worst,” he added.
Guy Parmelin asked the bankers to be at the side of their customers, entrepreneurs and investors by supporting them in financial matters to help them pass this crisis. The Federal Council hopes that the latter can be controlled as the health crisis.
For the president of Swissbanking, the evolution of the debt risks having serious consequences on the economy and in the financial markets, although it is difficult to assess the extent. “It puts banks and asset managers in front of major challenges,” explained Marcel Rohner.
Incorporate real assets into investments
The latter preached for a “dynamic economic policy favorable to growth”, which is, according to him, essential to solve the coming problems, preserve prosperity and financial spending. For banks, with inflation, greater prudence is required in terms of granting loans, managing balance sheets and advising wealthy individuals and institutional clients, added Marcel Rohner.
“The true preservation of asset value will become a more modest return goal, but a priority in terms of wealth management,” the banker points out. According to him, the diversification of investment cards by integrating substantial parts of real assets is another way to preserve their long-term value. “What matters is the long term.”
Bankers’ Day, which usually takes place in Zurich, was this year in Neuchâtel to celebrate the centenary of the Neuchâtel Cantonal Banks Association (ACBN). The latter now brings together nine banks, starting with the four founding members (BCN, Bonhôte, Credit Suisse, UBS). The others are BPS (Switzerland), Banque Cler, Banque Migros, Raiffeisen and Valiant. The cantonal banking sector employs more than 600 people.
About thirty people in masks, in costumes, armed in particular with placards, drums and whistles, marched in the pedestrian area to protest in the form of charivari against this meeting. The demonstrators, who had no authorization, could not approach the lower temple, which was blocked by an impressive police force.
The signs read “The earth is burning, the banks are speculating” or “Turn off the banks”. The group explained that Swiss banks support fossil fuel exploitation projects, finance the arms industry, invest in nuclear energy and help rich people and dictators hide their fortunes.
The group would like to build a radical alternative to the economic model. The institutions, based on the cooperative, transparent and civic principle, could manage ordinary savings, finance housing, social security and the energy transition.