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Switzerland aims to boost competitiveness of banking industry

The Swiss government may allow foreign banks to open in the country as part of policy changes that aim to boost the competitiveness of the country's financial industry, it has said.

In a report on a "future-oriented financial market policy" the Swiss Federal Council set out steps to make the sector more competitive. The first of these is to maintain and improve market access.

"Possible bilateral agreements will be sought with partner countries," it said.

Switzerland uses bilateral agreements to give certain industries access to the EU single market, but this does not currently include financial services.

The Council will also seek EU recognition of the equivalence of Swiss financial market regulation, it said.

The legal framework should be changed to encourage sectors such as fintech and sustainable investment, it said.

The Federal Council will carry out periodic reviews of its 'too-big-to-fail' regime for systemically important banks, it said, and "more attention should be paid to systemic risks in the real estate market and in the area of occupational pensions".

Switzerland is also committed to meeting international standards in taxation and money laundering, it said.

"A stable and competitive financial sector that functions well is a mainstay of the Swiss economy. The Swiss financial centre should continue to assert itself as one of the world's leading locations for financial business and even be able to strengthen this role," the Council said.

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