Enterprise Ireland is starting a trade mission to Switzerland where it is set to announce some big deals for its client companies. Speaking in Zurich, Dr Jan Atteslander from Economie Suisse - Switzerland's employers group - says the three main concerns facing the Swiss economy are European policy, energy policy and tax policies.
Dr Atteslander says that Switzerland is working to make its tax policies compatible with international tax regulations - this process will take another year or two before the country is competitive again. He say the tax regime at some regional levels were seen by the country's foreign partners as discrimination and this image has to be abolished. He says that when the process is finished, everyone will still have to pay some taxes but it will be obvious that legal security has been increased so that the new tax regime is accepted internationally. The business man says that the level of Swiss taxes is just one reason why businesses are attracted to the country. Companies also look at a country's competitiveness, its labour force and its infrastructure. The Swiss economy has found a way to become highly globalised - a process which started several decades ago - while it also has an excellent workforce which is highly skilled and internationally-based, Dr Atteslander said.
Describing the issue of immigration as the elephant in the room, Dr Atteslander says that net immigration is regarded as being too high. A way has to be found to implement the constitution in such a way as to not hurt the economy, while still giving some level of control to local authorities. If the European economy is doing well, then so is the Swiss economy, he says, adding that both have the same strategic interests. Europe is Switzerland's biggest trade partner by far, Dr Atteslander states.
MORNING BRIEFS - American billionaire and Bank of Ireland investor and director Wilbur Ross announced he was selling his remaining shareholding in the bank and resigning as a director. Speaking afterwards he said the sale was "not a negative comment" on the bank or on Ireland. "Both are on the right track," he stated. Bank of Ireland said Mr Ross had been instrumental in the success of the bank's capital raising in 2011 that it had benefited from his insights. He - and funds he is associated with - are selling 1.8 million shares, at between 26 and 27.5 cents. Earlier this year the bank said it had returned to profit, and since Mr Ross made his fortune buying distressed assets it seems it was time to move on, as he bought in at about ten cents.
*** Hibernia REIT has said that Tom Edwards Moss is to be the property investor's new chief financial officer. He joins from Credit Suiss, where as an investment banker he had a strong focus on real estate.
*** A new report shows that the amount of private wealth held by households globally surged more than 14% to $152 trillion last year, boosted mainly by rising stock markets. Asia-Pacific, excluding Japan, led the surge with a 31% jump to $37 trillion. The number of millionaire households also rose sharply, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group. The reports takes into account cash, deposits, shares and other assets held by households. But businesses, real estate and luxury goods are excluded.
*** The president of eBay's payments business PayPal is stepping down to join Facebook where he will lead its messaging products business. EBay said David Marcus, who has led the division for the past two years, would leave the firm later this month. The company's president John Donahoe said Paypal's leadership team would report directly to him until a successor is found.