SJCC Swiss-Japanese Chamber of Commerce
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Events

Luncheon

Date
Thursday, August 27th 2009, 11:30
Location
Zunfthaus zur Meisen
Münsterhof 20
8001 Zurich
Switzerland
Organisation
SJCC Swiss-Japanese Chamber of Commerce
Fee

The cost of the luncheon is CHF 90.-- per person, to be paid in cash-only at the event (there is a full no-show charge in case of cancellation later than two days prior to the event).

11:30 Apero

12:00 Presentation
”The Situation of Switzerland’s Banking and Insurance Industry. Anything to Learn from the Japanese Experience?”
by Werner Enz, NZZ Neue Zürcher Zeitung

12:30 Luncheon
 

What began with the outbreak of the subprime crisis in autumn 2007 still lingers on. The Swiss Insurance sector has so far remained quite solid, its managers having learned bitter lessons in the mini-crash of the stock markets in 2001 and 2002 when many companies were overextended in stocks. Even Swiss Re, which recently paid heavily for its poorly managed exposure in the US property market, is recovering. Astonishing many, UBS, the former blue chip of Swiss Banking, has taken the heaviest hit in the financial crisis. A couple of years ago it would have been hard to imagine that UBS would ask the Swiss Government for state money, but this has now come to pass.
Lessons from Japan are not easily transferable, as the way of doing business there is different. For instance, Japanese commercial banks fared better with respect to the subprime disaster because they were less influenced by the investment banking culture of Wall Street that crept into most of the big European banks. With regard to insurance, and especially life insurance, Japan's experience shows that underestimating guarantees given to policyholders comes at a steep price. Interest rates in the yen currency are now so low that insurance have to consume substance in order to fulfill commitments.

Werner Enz studied Economics at the University of Zurich, where he was awarded an MBA in 1980. He then studied modern Chinese at the Foreign Language School of Beijing. On his return to Switzerland he worked for five years for a news agency in Zurich, specializing in financial markets and company reporting. In 1987 he joined the Economic section of Neue Zürcher Zeitung. From 1991 to 1994 he was the NZZ’s Foreign Correspondent in Scandinavia, and thereafter from 1995 to the end of 2000 he held the same position in Tokyo. Having now returned to the head office of the NZZ he covers topics including insurance, banking, pension systems and transport/aviation.