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Swiss wealth managers could benefit from a Brexit: BCG

[ZURICH] A British exit from the European Union could push the world's wealthy to keep less of their cash in London and turn to Swiss private banks instead, the chairman of Boston Consulting Group's (BCG) Swiss office said on Tuesday.

Home to the likes of UBS and Credit Suisse Switzerland ranks as the global capital for managing foreign wealth, with BCG estimating that the country's banks hold US$2.3 trillion in offshore assets.

With US$1.3 trillion, Britain is an important rival, along with the likes of Singapore and Hong Kong and BCG sees these three growing their foreign asset bases faster than Switzerland in the coming years.

However, a decision by British voters in a national referendum on June 23 to leave the EU could cause wealthy individuals to rethink where they keep their cash, according to Matthias Naumann, senior partner and chairman of BCG's Swiss office.

"In wealth management, Switzerland will probably benefit from a Brexit," Mr Naumann told reporters at an event for BCG's annual global wealth report.

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"A Brexit would fundamentally change the British set-up. One of the arguments for going offshore is no longer so quickly fulfilled," Mr Naumann added, referring to many clients' desire for financial and political stability.

If Britain opts to leave the EU later this month it would then face at least two years of talks with Brussels to negotiate its departure.

Two polls published on Tuesday suggested Britons narrowly favour remaining in the EU, in contrast to surveys released on Monday which indicated that the campaign for Brexit was ahead.


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