Investors are playing down risks that the Swiss equity market will become less attractive and more concentrated following the merger of the UBS and Credit Suisse fund management companies.

The fact that UBS has to report equity holdings because it has achieved or exceeded a certain threshold (3% of shares), following the merger with Credit Suisse, does not have an impact on the attractiveness of the Swiss stock market, asset manager Swisscanto said in a statement.

The fund management company’s holdings remain of a “financial” and not a “strategic” nature, meaning that the newly-reported higher holdings have no influence on the free float, Swisscanto added.

UBS merged its fund management company (UBS Fund Management AG) with Credit Suisse Funds AG on 30 April.

UBS Fund Management manages UBS Asset Management funds/ETFs domiciled in Switzerland, and to a larger extent white labelling funds holding Swiss equities on behalf of investors, mainly Swiss pension funds, insurance companies and other banks.

The portfolio management for the white label funds is delegated to more than 150 asset managers globally, each pursuing their own investment strategy. Swiss equities are typically distributed over many different funds owned by different investors and managed by several different portfolio managers.

According to an analysis by the news agency AWP, based on data from the SIX stock exchange regulator SER (as of 20 May), the new UBS Fund Management firm holds 3% or more in more than half of the companies listed on the SIX stock exchange – 119 out of 221 – ahead of BlackRock, which has a 3% stake or more in 46 companies listed on the SIX, Swisscanto in 17 companies, J Safra Sarasin in 13, and Norges Bank Investment Management in eight.

UBS declined to comment. BlackRock did not reply to a request for comment.

NBIM is invested in 114 Swiss companies, accounting for 2.8% of its equity investments, it said without disclosing the thresholds. Its equity investments take the global index FTSE Global All Cap as a starting point.

“This means [that] we spread our investments across around 9,000 companies – in most countries, markets and sectors – according to the weighting in the index […] there are many well-performing companies in Switzerland,” a spokesperson said.

Swisscanto pursues an active management strategy with Swiss equities, convinced that “quality companies” generate higher returns in the long term.

A Swisscanto spokesperson said the Swiss stock market (Swiss Performance Index, SPI) is a high-return market and therefore interesting for investments in the medium term.

“With its rather defensive blue chip and many smaller and medium-sized companies, it offers actively managed strategies the opportunity to position themselves accordingly, depending on the market environment,” the spokesperson said.

The Swiss mid and small-cap market is less efficient, highly fragmented and sometimes only covered by a few research analysts, which often leads to inefficiencies, the spokesperson added.

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