A significant recovery in the fourth quarter of 2020 concludes a year in which the climate of opinion towards the Swiss economy was exposed to extraordinary challenges and fluctuations due to the Corona crisis. The SERX gained 2.5 index points and now stands at 93.4 points.

The Swiss Economy Reputation Index (SERX) is recentely characterised by the following developments:

  • In the annual perspective, the SERX improved by 3.3 index points, which was largely due to the improved reputation of the financial sector – and in particular the banks. Only in the third quarter a negative, mainly socially and morally charged perception prevailed. By contrast, in the first half of the year, the question of how exactly companies put their competencies at the service of society and with which activities they contribute to supporting Switzerland as a business location was predominantly assessed positively.
  • This perspective, according to which the Swiss economy is fulfilling its locational responsibility, is also partly responsible for the reputation gains in the fourth quarter. In the context of the Corona crisis, the «job miracle in Switzerland» and corporate activities such as reserving half of the ZKB anniversary dividend for Corona consequences attracted positive attention.
Swiss Economy Reputation Index quarterly development 2019-2020

The graph shows the shift in the reputation of SERX according to SRI® per month. Reading example: In the 4th quarter of 2020, SERX gained 2.5 SRI® index points.

  • However, primarily responsible for the strong reputational gains in the 4th quarter are functional aspects, on the one hand the positive stock market development from November onwards, and on the other hand the partly surprisingly good company results for the third quarter. In particular, the sectors of construction & real estate («revenues bubbling up as ever»), technology («record chase») and luxury goods («Switzerland remains top in watches and jewellery») proved convincing.
  • In the sector ranking, insurers were able to maintain their top position – after temporary sharp losses due to corona-related setbacks – thanks to quarterly reports that were also positive for the most part. Life science companies returned to second place, benefiting in particular from promising developments in cancer and corona research. The retail trade («job creators») also gained significantly in reputation.
  • Losers at sector level were primarily the media companies, especially the SRG. In addition to the job cuts at group level, the cases of harassment at television in western Switzerland also had a negative impact on its reputation. The engineering sector also lost ground, but its overall reputation remained clearly positive. In addition to economic reasons such as a drop in sales and job cuts, the multi-million dollar settlement of a legal dispute (ABB), cyber attacks (Huber+Suhner) and criticism of Stadler Rail’s CEO («Peter the Great: Spuhler puts his reputation on the line») had a negative impact.

SERX – Swiss Economy Reputation Index

The Swiss Economy Reputation Index (SERX), which is currently made up of 157 private sector and state-related companies, shows on a consolidated basis how the public perception of the Swiss economy and its key sectors has developed over time.