The Swiss fund market hit a record high in terms of assets under management through 2016, according to the annual review and outlook published by the Swiss Fund & Asset Management Association (SFAMA).
Local funds hit AUM of CHF914bn (€855bn) by August 2016, and ended the year not far off this mark – the industry reported total fund assets of some CHF911.7bn at the end of December, which represents an increase of some CHF20.7bn or 2.3% year-on-year. This took place against a backdrop of higher levels of volatility in stock markets reacting to events such as the Brexit referendum vote outcome and the impact of the US presidential elections, even as global economic growth remained moderate through the year, SFAMA noted.
Equity funds saw net inflows of CHF11bn over the year, while bond, money market and commodity funds also saw AUM increases. However, alternative funds saw net outflows of some CHF7.6bn.
By the end of 2016, there were some 8,952 funds approved for distribution in Switzerland, up 212 over the year. Of these 1,551 were funds established under Swiss law, while 7,401 funds were established under foreign law – up 203 – with Luxembourg accounting for the majority of these, some 4,955 funds.
Switzerland also has a vibrant market for discretionary mandates, with assets totally some CHF1.2trn. This means total industry assets across funds and mandates is over CHF2trn (€1.87trn), which SFAMA contrasts to a total European figure of just under $20trn (€18.6trn), which according to the Association makes the local market the fourth biggest asset management market after the UK, France and Germany in the region.
The Association has otherwise been focused on legislative and regulatory developments in the local market, particularly the proposed Financial Services Act (FinSA) and Financial Institutions Act (FinIA) bills, which were passed by the Swiss Council of States by the end of the year.
SFAMA managing director Markus Fuchs said: “Both will make a decisive contribution to safeguarding the exportability of Swiss providers, and thus also their future competitiveness. In the upcoming debates in the National Council, we will continue to strive toward ensuring that the issues raised by our industry are heard, while highlighting the pivotal importance of asset management for Switzerland’s financial center and its economy as a whole.”
Looking forward, the Association is also working to build on its position as the “leading body” representing asset management in Switzerland, and provide evaluation of and support to “innovative fund solutions”, as well establishing best practice standards. It is intent on representing the industry in regards to ongoing legislative developments, particularly the FinSA and FinIA rules, and to ensure it is engaging in effective lobbying at the federal level.
Four new members joined the Association over the past year, taking its total membership to 184 firms. Those that joined last year were:
• HBM Partners Ltd, Zug
• Helvetica Property Investors AG, Zurich
• Hyposwiss Private Bank Geneva SA, Geneva
• T. Rowe Price (Switzerland) GmbH, Zurich.