Self-rule in Swiss business
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Swiss government is very business-friendly and usually only interferes in business issues in extreme cases or upon request of the parties concerned. Regulations of specific trades and industries are usually placed in the capable hands of professional organizations, which manage them responsibly, although of course in the interest of their members.

Take banking, for example. There are banking laws in the Swiss Civil Code, as well as a special law called “laws on banks.” However, many important rules are left to the Swiss Bankers Association, a private professional association. In the case of antimoney laundering measures, members of the association have signed the “Convention de diligence,” which describes the behavior member banks should adopt regarding their depositors and the economic origin of deposits. In the event of infraction, the association can levy fines or exclude members. This system of partly autonomous rule is clearly in favor of business, but generally works quite well.

When new issues arise (for instance, money laundering scandals and the subsequent pressure to change rules and practice), Parliament passes the minimum laws needed to satisfy public opinion and international policy needs, and the rest is left to the private professional association to sort out. Sensitive as they are to the threat of new, less flexible laws, the associations enforce stricter regulations on their members so that they can avoid new scandals while maintaining control over part of the regulatory process.

The umbrella organization of all these professional associations is called the Vorort.

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