Risks to the Swiss real estate market grew more severe in 2013 as residential prices and mortgage debt continued to experience stronger growth than economic output and household incomes, raising concerns of an impending housing bubble. High property prices caused some problems for international investors but the country’s stable economic conditions and developed infrastructure continued to attract a steady inflow into the residential market. Bidding processes, construction projects and advice regarding the secondary homes initiative also kept lawyers busy throughout the year. We list 38 practitioners highlighted for their experience in this field.
Competition lawyers in Switzerland reported another busy year as the Swiss Competition Commission maintained their aggressive regulatory stance and focus on enforcement activities. Financial markets remained under scrutiny with the continuation of the LIBOR investigation and investigation of malpractice in the FX market implicating several Swiss and international banks. Tightening of the rules relating to ver tical restraints and an increase in car tel investigations also generated a steady workflow for practitioners in the field. We feature 24 practitioners for their “depth of expertise” in this field.
Commercial mediation has taken on greater importance as a dispute resolution tool in Switzerland over recent years, subsequent to the introduction of the Swiss Code of Civil Procedure in January 2011. The measure cemented the relationship between court proceedings and mediation and ensured that the process was established as a strong alternative to conciliation. The region is home to many full-time mediators, reflecting the focus on specialist training in order to meet the needs of the legal marketplace. Many company and contractual matters are resolved via this form of dispute resolution, and our research recognises 11 “leading” professionals in the field.
Over the past year the Swiss litigation field has been par ticularly active, lawyers having repor ted a high volume of cases in the financial services sector involving Swiss banks. A growing source of disputes is data protection, as clarification is sought on the indirect effect of EU legislation relating to the disclosure of employees’ personal data. Litigators have also been closely following developments in relation to the unified federal code of civil procedure, as a number of cantonal and federal cases have addressed a range of questions relevant for practice. We identify 45 lawyers known for their “superb” litigation skills.
Throughout 2013 the European debt crisis has presented a continuing risk to the stability of Switzerland’s economy, which enjoys close trading links with other Eurozone members. However, capital markets experts see cause for optimism in Switzerland’s status as a global leader for structured products alongside growing confidence among institutional investors. Lawyers have been very active in light of recent regulatory changes, including key amendments to the supervision of Swiss investment firms based on the EU Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) and to the rules governing public distribution of investment funds in Switzerland. We identify 27 practitioners acclaimed for their industry-leading knowledge of Swiss capital markets law.
Switzerland remains under pressure to clamp down on white-collar crime following the global financial crisis; the OECD recently criticised the country for not doing enough and the US continues to pursue Swiss financiers it believes have aided tax evasion. In September 2013 the country signed an international tax evasion agreement brokered by the OECD and introduced new legislation to increase cooperation on money laundering. These developments have resulted in an increased demand for top-tier business crime defence lawyers and in this section we recognise 28 highly regarded practitioners.
Regulatory advice was cited as the biggest source of work for banking lawyers in the past year as banks come to terms with an increasingly active regulator, US and EU crackdowns on banking secrecy and significant new directives. In this chapter we single out the 30 most highly regarded practitioners, the same number as in our previous edition, demonstrating that while the sector is going through a period of change the legal market has remained constant.
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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.