Credit Suisse and UBS have lost market share within the Swiss asset management industry since the emergency takeover of the first by the latter firm last year, according to the Swiss Asset Management Association Switzerland (AMAS).

The market share lost over the course of last year was absorbed by both larger and smaller asset managers, AMAS added.

Swiss asset management has experienced a “turning point” with the takeover of Credit Suisse by UBS, that manifested itself through a changing structure of the market, according to the association.

Asset managers and banks are trying to enter the Swiss pension fund asset management market as pension schemes worry of counterparty risks, and market concentration, looking to diversify their services.

UBS is at the top among the largest Swiss asset managers with a market share of 25%, down from 25.6%, and Credit Suisse, still counted as a separate entity, is in second place with 12.6%, down from a market share among asset managers of 13.7%, according to AMAS’s figures.

Swisscanto, an asset management subsidiary of Zürcher Kantonalbank, ranks third, with a market share that has increased from 8.9% to 10.3%, according to AMAS.

Zürcher Kantonalbank is building up its services for pension funds and institutional investors in the French-speaking part of the country, it announced today. It has counted pension funds among its customers in the French-speaking part of Switzerland for several years, it added.

The bank will add three consultants to the team and will open a local sales office in Lausanne in the first quarter of this year, it said.

“In a changed environment in terms of competition, with only one big bank [UBS/Credit Suisse], Zürcher Kantonalbank, as the second largest universal bank for institutional customers, represents an alternative,” said Heini Dändliker, head of key account management and corporate customers.

The Swiss market needs a “second strong provider”, and this particularly applies to French-speaking Switzerland, he said.

Recently, the Swiss bank of the canton of Grisons, Graubündner Kantonalbank, has also split its institutional business from its private banking division to create an independent unit to specifically assist Pensionskassen, insurance companies and foundations, poaching the head from Credit Suisse.

Asset managers and banks are battling for a market that AMAS expects to increase by around 5% to CHF3.02trn (previous year CHF2.87trn), in terms of assets under management (with discretionary mandates).

Last year, the volume of the Swiss fund market rose by 3.7% to CHF1.37trn, with a 3.3% performance, equating to CHF43.3bn, it said. Inflows into money market funds amounted to CHF15.8bn, contributing the most to the overall increase in inflows of CHF5.8bn.

“Both 2022 and 2023 are the years of money market funds […] that represent an alternative for risk-averse investors,” said AMAS’s chief executive officer Adrian Schatzmann.

The association will continue to work to strengthen competition in Swiss asset management this year, also with a clear position on sustainable finance, technology, and market access, the president of the association, Iwan Deplazes, said.

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