Reputation of the Swiss economy suffers from a social-moral perspective in the 3rd quarter of 2020.

The Swiss Economy Reputation Index (SERX) is characterised by the following developments in the third quarter of 2020:

  • After two quarters of strong reputational gains, public perception of the Swiss economy deteriorated again in the third quarter of 2020. SERX lost 2.1 index points and now stands at 90.6 index points.
  • Although the often negative economic impact of the Corona crisis on the half-year results of companies was also responsible for this loss of reputation, the social assessments in relation to the economy darkened significantly.
Reputation Swiss Economy development 3Q2020

The graph shows the indexed sedimented reputation development (SRI®) of SERX. The reference point for the indexation is January 1, 2008. The SRI® models the historically grown reputation anchored in public memory.

  • While in the first half of the year the question of how companies are helping to support Switzerland as a business location during the corona crisis was still largely viewed positively, in the third quarter the climate of opinion was dominated by social and moral issues with negative connotations.
  • In addition to national events (e.g. the Weko cartel investigation against retailers, the resurgence of the Vincenz affair and the opening of proceedings by Finma against Credit Suisse in the context of the Kahn spying affair), the Swiss media increasingly scandalised international events related to the Swiss economy – probably also in view of the upcoming votes on responsible business and war business initiatives.
  • The focus was often on actions by Swiss companies that were judged to be legally and morally questionable with regard to ecology (e.g. financing oil production in the Amazon, palm oil sinners, export of prohibited pesticides, harmful sulphur emissions in Glencore Mine in Zambia), human rights (LafargeHolcim in Burma) or ethical behaviour (fines in France for Basel Pharma for overpriced drugs, gaps in the Swiss banks’ anti-money laundering policy).
  • In the sector ranking, insurers were able to maintain their top position by a narrow margin – despite heavy losses due to corona-related financial setbacks. The life science companies, which had previously ranked second, fell back to fourth place. By contrast, the engineering sector – which is performing well despite the corona crisis – and the food sector, which in most cases has continued to grow despite the crisis, have moved up.
  • The losers at sector level are – apart from the life science companies mentioned above – the domestic banks and retailers. The still very positive perception in the first half of the year in the context of the straightforward execution of the Corona loans was overshadowed by the resurgence of the Vincenz affair at Raiffeisen and uncertain future prospects at Postfinance. The retail sector was under public pressure as a result of the investigations conducted by the Weko and the threat of fines running into millions.

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.