The Swiss government is to set up a working group on sustainable finance, tasked with considering the implications for Switzerland of the European Commission’s action plan.

It is also supposed to carry out work to inform decisions about Switzerland’s participation in international initiatives such as the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action, which was launched in April.

The working group has yet to be set up, but IPE understands it will comprise members of the Swiss federal administration, with private sector and other interested parties when necessary. It is to be headed by the state secretariat for international finance, a unit of the federal finance ministry, and work closely with the environment department.

The working group will be asked to report back to the cabinet by spring next year at the latest with proposals for the Swiss financial market.

“The federal council intends to hold further discussions by the end of the year on the issue of whether and how the financial market should be regulated,” the government said. “The basic aim is to determine the framework conditions that will enable the Swiss financial centre to be competitive in the area of sustainable finance.”

The working group will also be asked to target the conclusion of industry agreements with financial market players. The government said these should lead to increased transparency and a voluntary industry commitment to a representative participation in portfolio climate alignment tests “with a view to achieving specific targets”.

“The aim is to strengthen competitiveness so that customers and investors can be offered clear information and thus decision-making options,” the government said in a statement. “Dialogue with the industry will be intensified to this end.”

In 2017, a government-sponsored assessment of participating pension funds’ investment portfolios found that these were on average in line with global warming of 6°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century.

The government is offering these free tests again this year, this time also inviting banks and asset managers to take part.