* Swiss finance vs insurance: tinyurl.com/mtl9xnn
* Jobs in finance vs insurance: tinyurl.com/lqsxhcn
By Joshua Franklin
ZURICH, May 11 Switzerland's financial centre is
in the midst of a power shift.
The Alpine country's less fashionable insurers, long
overshadowed by glamorous private banks around Zurich's posh
Paradeplatz and Lake Geneva, are on course to surpass banks as a
bigger contributor to the Swiss economy for the first time since
Insurance will overtake financial services as a proportion
of Switzerland's 650 billion Swiss franc ($649 billion) economy
in 2018 based on the average growth rate of the past decade,
according to Reuters calculations.
It underscores banks' waning power in the aftermath of the
financial crisis as well as the damaging impact of a global
crackdown on tax evasion, which has eroded the importance of
Switzerland's bank secrecy laws.
The swing could be temporary, according to Martin Eling, an
insurance management professor at the University of St. Gallen.
"In general the business models of banks are simply more
volatile than insurers," said Eling. "Depending on the
development, it could be that banks catch up again in the next
three to four years."
Switzerland is home to UBS and Credit Suisse
as well as Zurich Insurance and Swiss Re
, respectively two of Europe's biggest banks and
The Swiss statistics office defines financial services as
including areas like banking, trusts and financial leasing.
The number of banks and insurers in Switzerland shrank by
around 20 percent between 2005 and 2015 but when it comes to
staff sizes, banks remain clearly on top.
($1 = 1.0017 Swiss francs)
(Additional reporting by Paul Arnold; Editing by Mark Potter)