Switzerland’s Federal Department of Finance recognises that a *”well-tuned and transparent policy on questions relating to the financial centre”* contribute significantly to that country’s success as a business location. Accordingly, the Department has drawn up new guidelines for policy relating to Switzerland’s financial centre. These guidelines establish a framework designed to be applicable in the longer term. A release from the EFD says state regulation must be continually monitored and optimised, and that the range of reform projects underscores the high significance of adaptable financial market regulation.

According to the release, the new guidelines reinforce the predictability and transparency of Switzerland’s policy relating to the financial sector. Additionally, they serve as an “orientation aid” in shaping international relations in the financial sphere, including bilateral relations with the European Union.

The guidelines also are designed to support communication pertaining to the financial centre in Switzerland and abroad, as well as promoting objective discussions.

Switzerland’s Federal Council has taken note of these guidelines pointing out that they confirm the key points of policy concerning the country’s role as a financial centre:

· stable and competition-oriented conditions, safeguarding the privacy of depositors and investors, ensuring the integrity of the financial sector, as well as active international cooperation in an effort to find independent yet constructive solutions.

· reinforcement of the fact that a competitive, efficient and stable financial centre characterised by integrity is in the general interest of the entire Swiss economy.

· recognition that entrepreneurial responsibility and innovative ability cannot and should specifically not be transferred from the financial sector to the state.

The guidelines set out policy approaches in relation to future government action, but do not include concrete proposals for regulatory modifications. The Department says these will be carried out through the usual political channels and must be well-balanced in content and timing. An extensive overview of the current reform projects in financial market regulation is considered “prerequisite”. *(See attached for the overview and more details on the individual current reform projects)*

An interdepartmental Strategic Advisory Group on the Swiss Financial Centre was set up by the head of the Federal Department of Finance. Composed of high-ranking representatives of the federal departments and supervisory authorities, the committee deals with issues concerning Switzerland’s role as a financial centre, as well as the Swiss National Bank.