Category Archive: 3.) Investec

Healthcare costs rise further in Switzerland

Statistics published today show a further rise in Swiss healthcare costs. In 2016, spending on healthcare rose by 3.8% reaching over CHF 80 billion, 12.2% of GDP. In 2015, Swiss healthcare spending was equal to 11.9% of GDP. The challenge of rising healthcare costs is not confined to Switzerland. In the UK in 2015, healthcare costs rose 3.6% to reach 9.9% of GDP.

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Swiss unemployment at lowest in 3.5 years

Swiss unemployment is at its lowest for 3.5 years, according to the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). The last time Swiss unemployment reached March 2018’s level was in October 2014. After reaching a peak of 3.7% in January 2017, the rate had fallen to 2.9% by March 2018. Unemployment has some seasonality however the rate for last March (2.9%) is low even when compared to March 2016 (3.5%) and March 2017 (3.4%).

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Europe’s most expensive hotels in Geneva, Paris and Zurich

Across the road from Lake Geneva, sits Geneva’s and the world’s most expensive hotel suite. The Hotel President Wilson’s Royal Penthouse Suite is reported to cost $83,500 per night – the price is not listed on the hotel’s website but costs this much according to CNN. For most of those planning to visit Geneva, this price is, thankfully, an outlier.

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Insurance boss suggests Swiss health insurance deductibles of 10,000 francs

Philomena Colatrella, the CEO of Swiss insurer CSS Insurance, has stirred the lively debate around Switzerland’s rising cost of health insurance by proposing deductibles of CHF 5,000 and CHF 10,000 – deductibles set the amount people pay out of their own pockets before their insurance kicks in.

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Swiss welfare recipient made to repay 173,000 francs

In some parts of Switzerland welfare payments are effectively loans that must be repaid when the recipient’s financial situation improves. According to the Aargauer Zeitung, a welfare recipient in the commune of Klingnau in the canton of Aargau received a bill of 173,000 francs after he came into some money. A windfall of 173,000 francs is rare, according to Rolf Walker, head of administration at the commune.

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“Swissleaks” author arrested in Spain at Switzerland’s request

According to Tribune de Genève, Hervé Falciani was arrested in Madrid last week at Switzerland’s request. In 2008, Falciani a French-Italian who grew up in Monaco, took confidential information from the Geneva offices of HSBC, his employer, and fled to Lebanon where some claim he attempted to sell it. Later he shared the information with authorities in France and sought refuge there in 2009.

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The Swiss National Bank owns more A-class Facebook shares than Zuckerberg

At the end of March 2018, the Swiss National Bank (SNB), held 8.93 million A class shares compared to Mark Zuckerberg’s holding of 8.91 million, according to the newspaper Handelszeitung. However, most of Zuckerberg’s shares are B class shares, a class of shares which is not quoted and give the founder control of the business. Zuckerberg holds 393.9 million of these.

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Food consumes far less of Swiss budgets than it did 25 years ago

Comparing the most recent statistics on Swiss consumer inflation to those in 1993 reveals a steep drop in the percentage of spending allocated to food. When statisticians calculate consumer price rises they look at the prices of a standard basket of goods. In 1993, food and non-alcoholic beverages made up 14.3% of the value of this standard basket. By 2018, the percentage had fallen to 10.4%, a 27% drop.

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Tax and spend – canton of Geneva generates a surprise budget surplus

When Geneva’s finances make the news it is typically bad. At the end of 2016, the canton had debts of CHF 12.5 billion, equal to 153% of its income. In January 2018, the rating agency Standard and Poors gave Geneva a negative outlook citing risks related to the canton’s poorly funded public pension scheme.

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IMF forecasts 2.25 percent Swiss GDP growth in 2018 while pointing to risks

A boost to investment and net exports from the tailwind of strong external demand, together with faster expansion of household spending owing to rising employment, are forecast to lift GDP growth to around 2¼ percent in 2018, said the IMF in a statement referring to Switzerland issued on 26 March 2018.

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Maker of the Sniper’s Choice, makes the news – but what is the Swiss company RUAG?

The Swiss company RUAG made the news last week when investigators were called in to look at information relating to the sale of ammunition. But what is this company? According to RTS, the investigation revealed contracts for the sale of ammunition to Russia that had not been properly declared, RUAG triggered the investigation itself when a whistle blower reported irregularities and has filed a criminal complaint.

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Swiss government set to remove ‘mariage tax penalty’

In Switzerland, married couples file one combined tax return. Because tax rates rise in line with income it means that second incomes of married couples are taxed at a higher rate than those of single cohabitating ones. Those campaigning to have this changed argue that it is unfair and acts as a disincentive for second income earners.

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Raising Switzerland’s retirement age – like death and taxes

Last week, State Councillor Peter Hegglin (PDC/CVP) withdrew his motion demanding Switzerland’s retirement age automatically rise with life expectancy. He argues that Switzerland urgently needs to find a way to ensure the financial health of its pension system and raising the retirement age is the main way to do this.

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Geneva’s mega apartment project now underway – 1,000 apartments and 2,500 jobs

Last week, work started on a project to construct 1,000 apartments in Geneva. The project known as the Quartier de l’Etang will unfold over an 11 hectare site in Vernier, not far from Geneva airport. The video above shows the commencement ceremony and a computer animation of the completed project.

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Switzerland’s parliament rejects plan to cut health insurance discounts

Switzerland has a system of compulsory health insurance. Residents must choose an insurer and pay. Those who don’t are automatically signed up and sent a bill. Other than shopping around, choosing a policy with an excess, a sum that must be covered out of your own pocket before the insurance kicks in, is one of the few ways to reduce your premium.

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Swiss voters could get to decide on Switzerland’s Winter Olympics bid

In October 2017, when Switzerland’s Federal Council announced the government would stand behind Sion’s bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics, it sparked a backlash. A survey run by Tamedia in February 2018 suggests 59% of the Swiss public are against the bid, according to RTS. The estimated cost to Swiss taxpayers is close to CHF 1 billion. Other costs, to be borne by the host canton Valais and other cantons, are expected on top of this federal...

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Geneva wants to limit Airbnb rentals to 60 days a year

The canton wants the platform to place limits on its use to put the brakes on commercial operators. The 60 day limit was set by Geneva’s State Council. Antonio Hodgers, State councillor in charge of housing told Tribune de Genève that renting on the platform had become a real business for some and that this needs to be controlled.

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Switzerland – a definition of middle class

A recent survey calculates 60.1% of Switzerland’s population was middle class in 2015, a figure that has remained broadly stable since 1998, reaching its highest in 2009 (61.3%) and lowest in 2013 (56.8%). But what is middle class in Switzerland? According to Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office, it is anyone living in a household with a gross income between 70% and 150% of the gross median income.

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How hot politics in the Balkans slowed the clock on your oven

Switzerland’s power grid is part of a large pool of ebbing and flowing electricity spanning 25 countries, known as the Continental European (EC) power grid. Enough electricity must be fed into it to keep it at a stable frequency. The EC’s magic number is 50 Hz. Maintaining this requires a carefully coordinated trans-national balancing act. When electricity consumption rises, power stations across the network must work harder.

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Swiss politicians with links to health sector can still fully participate in health commissions

Lukas Reimann, a parliamentarian and member of the Swiss Peoples Party (UDC/SVP), fought to have parliamentarians paid by health companies partially excluded from government commissions dealing with health issues. He thinks vested interests are behind high health premiums and that cartels must be broken.

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