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UK and Switzerland ink major deal on financial services

The Berne Financial Services Agreement is a 'first of its kind' deal on financial services cooperation

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt/HM Treasury

The United Kingdom and Switzerland have signed a financial services agreement said to be “the first of its kind”. 

The deal - the Berne Financial Services Agreement - will mean UK businesses can provide financial services to the Swiss domestic market, and vice versa, with greater ease and lower friction. 

This will make open access in financial services legally binding between the UK and Switzerland.

“The Berne Financial Services Agreement is a global first and builds on the UK and Switzerland’s strengths as two of the world’s largest financial centres,” Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said.

“It cements open access for financial services between our two nations for decades to come, helping us grow the economy and serving as a blueprint for future agreements with other key trading partners,” Hunt added. 

The move, according to the UK government, has been made possible owing to newfound regulatory freedoms since the UK’s exit from the European Union in 2016.

Hunt signed the agreement as part of a visit to Switzerland aimed at boosting ties between the two countries. 

From the start of 2024, financial services companies wishing to service Swiss clients have to open an office in Switzerland apart from the UK which will be able to sell directly.

The agreement codifies mutual recognition of each country’s domestic laws and regulations on financial services from asset management, banking, insurance and other investment services. 

This will remove requirements to sit Swiss examinations or provide documentation evidencing suitability, for the UK’s financial advisory industry, for example.

Separate from the Berne Financial Services Agreement, the UK is also currently negotiating an enhanced Free Trade Agreement with Switzerland.

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