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No interest rate reversal, says SNB President

To kick off the new event series “TheTalk@TheStudio” hosted by Ringier and Helvetia Insurance, Thomas Jordan, President of the Swiss National Bank, talks to Christine Maier about the current economic situation in Switzerland and the impact of low interest rates.

31 March 2017, text: Hansjörg Ryser, photos: Thomas Lüthi, video: Ringier

It’s misery for savers big and small. Small-scale savers receive almost no interest on their savings and old-age pensions, and those with bigger sums are desperately searching for investment options. The same applies for Helvetia Insurance, which takes care of around 1.5 billion francs of new investment every year. Here it finds itself constrained in its range of options by a tight corset of regulations, and for two years now has even had to pay for secure investments. Back in January 2015 the Swiss National Bank surprised the world of finance by abandoning the cap on the franc’s value against the euro and introducing negative interest rates.

A long way from normalisation

This situation, unedifying for savers, has been allowed to continue for some time, as Thomas Jordan, President of the Swiss National Bank, explained at the first “TheTalk@TheStudio” event hosted by Ringier and Helvetia Insurance. “We are still a long way from normalisation”, he said, talking to moderator Christine Maier. The many, primarily political uncertainties have meant that the National Bank has had to prepare various scenarios, he said, in order to be able to react immediately whatever the event. If necessary, interest rates could go even lower.

New territory even for the National Bank

It’s not only for savers that the last few years have been challenging, but also for those in charge of monetary policy. “With many measures, we have been entering new territory”, Jordan reveals. Nevertheless, the state of the economy shows that the bank has been able to get to grips with these challenges successfully, he claims. Certainly there are still certain difficulties for many industries, such as retail, he goes on to say. Yet many have also been able to profit, for example thanks to cheaper imports or lower interest rates for the acquisition of residential properties. Just how small-scale savers should manage their old-age pensions in this situation is something Thomas Jordan explains in an exclusive video interview for Ringier and the Helvetia Blog.

Die Veranstaltungsreihe TheTalk@TheStudio wurde von Ringier und Helvetia Versicherugnen ins Leben gerufen.

TheTalk@TheStudio

Ringier and Helvetia Insurance launched a series of joint events by welcoming the President of the Swiss National Bank, Thomas Jordan. At these events hosts Marc Walder, CEO of Ringier, and Dr Philipp Gmür, CEO of Helvetia, each invite around 70 guests to a talk at the Ringier press building, where presenter Christine Maier interviews a high-profile guest from the world of politics and business.

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