“2016 Chief Digital Officer” study – digital responsibility is growing

In its latest “2016 Chief Digital Officer” study, Strategy& investigates who is responsible for overseeing digitization within companies. The findings show that a third of Swiss management bodies delegate this task to a Chief Digital Officer (CDO), particularly in the financial industry. The profiles of CDOs vary – but not their role.

The aim of the “2016 Chief Digital Officer” study conducted by Strategy& is to establish who is in charge of the digital transformation in the 2,500 largest listed companies in the world (including 49 in Switzerland). The term CDO refers to senior executives entrusted with the digitization strategy of their company. The evaluation clearly shows that: The Chief Digital Officer is taking the C-suite by storm. Whereas in 2015, 6% of study participants employed a CDO; in 2016 the number had already risen to 19%. 60% of the CDOs questioned were appointed between 2015 and 2016. Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) have the highest CDO density in the world, and the strongest growth (+30%) in the role. Switzerland is ranked fifth in Europe with 33%.

The Swiss financial services industry has clearly recognized the signs of the times, and is deploying the relevant management skills to ensure the consistent implementation of a digital strategy. The financial sector has the highest proportion of CDOs in Switzerland: insurance companies lead the way with 67%, followed by banks with 50%. They are digitizing not only their customer activities, but also their internal processes.

There is no typical CDO. Half of Swiss CDOs are members of the Board of Directors, 38% have individual titles such as “Head of Digital”, 6% hold the position of Vice President, and 6% are Directors. Almost two thirds were recruited from within the company. Only 13% of CDOs are currently female. 38% of CDOs held a previous function in marketing, sales or customer service. A third come with technical baggage, while a quarter have a background in consulting, strategy or business development. The importance of technical experience has increased. In 2016, 32% of CDOs originated from the technical sector. This represents more than twice as many as the previous year.

Find out more

Contact

Dr. Daniel Diemers
Partner Financial Services, Strategy&, Schweiz
+41 58 792 3190
daniel.diemers@strategyand.ch.pwc.com

Swiss Federal Council Adopts Dispatch on AEOI with 41 Jurisdictions

On 16 June 2017, the Swiss Federal Council agreed to adopt the dispatch on the introduction of the Automatic Exchange of Information (“AEOI”) with 41 states and territories. Switzerland will activate the AEOI with each individual state/territory via specific federal decrees within the framework of this dispatch.

This dispatch strengthens Switzerland’s international position, as its AEOI network has extended to most of the G20 and OECD states, in addition to the already existing agreements with 38 states and territories, including all EU member states.

As part of this dispatch, collection of information will begin in 2018 for a first data exchange in 2019. Brazil, China, Liechtenstein, and Russia are notable states included within the list of 41 states and territories.

Please refer to the following link for the Swiss Federal Council’s official media release:

Englishhttps://www.admin.ch/gov/en/start/documentation/media-releases.msg-id-67079.html
Germanhttps://www.admin.ch/gov/de/start/dokumentation/medienmitteilungen.msg-id-67079.html

Tax Package 17: Federal Council presents basic parameters of the planned reform

At its meeting on 9 June 2017 the Federal Council confirmed the basic parameters of the planned reform of Swiss corporate taxes, which the Steering Committee sent as a recommendation to the Federal Council and already introduced in a press release on 1 June 2017. The Tax Package 17 (SV 17) has three main objectives: first the aim is to secure Switzerland’s attractive status as a business location. In addition the reform intends, in view of the changed international environment, also to continue to preserve the acceptance of the Swiss tax system. Finally SV 17 is intended to secure sufficient tax revenues at all levels. These objectives are in principle identical with those of Corporate Tax Reform III (CTR III), which was rejected by the Swiss voters on 12 February 2017 with a share of the vote of almost 60%. SV 17 will therefore be more balanced. Compared with CTR III the special rules will be drawn up more restrictively and the interests of the cities and communes will carry more weight.

Continue to read in detail in our current newsletter.

If you have questions, please contact your usual PwC contact person or one of PwC Switzerland´s experts named below.

Contacts

Andreas Staubli
Partner
Leader TLS Schweiz
Tel. +41 58 792 44 72
Send E-mail
Armin Marti
Partner
Leader CT Schweiz
Tel. +41 58 792 43 43
Send E-mail
Benjamin Koch
Partner
Leader TP and VCT
+41 58 792 43 34
Send E-mail
Daniel Gremaud
Partner
Tax & Legal
+41 58 792 81 23
Send E-mail
Claude-Alain Barke
Partner
Tax & Legal
+41 58 792 83 17
Send E-mail
Remo Küttel
Partner
Tax & Legal
+41 58 792 68 69
Send E-mail
Laurenz Schneider
Director
Tax & Legal
+41 58 792 59 38
Send E-mail

Swiss pension outcomes are falling – could “matching” be part of the answer?

Low, even negative, interest rates and uncertain growth prospects is becoming a “new normal” in Switzerland. The impact on pension fund finances is well documented – pressure on funding levels, tough to find the right investment opportunities and focus on cost transparency. This environment also poses challenges for insured members, and as a result their employers. Expected retirement outcomes have fallen. What does this mean for employees and employers? 

10 years ago an insured person would expect higher returns on any money they invest for retirement than they would today. The mandatory interest credit for Swiss pension plans according to BVG/LPP was 2.50% in 2007 compared to 1.00% today.  Ten-year Swiss government bonds yields have fallen from 2.6% to -0.1% in the same period. This not only affects expected returns on the assets set aside but also the cost of providing an income for life after retirement. Life expectancies for retiring pensioners have increased by about 1 year for females and 2 years for males in that time which also needs to be funded.

All of these factors have had a major impact on retirement outcomes. Based on our calculations, in 2007 a 40 year-old could invest CHF 7’100 and expect a pension of a CHF 1’000 a year for that investment. Today a 40 year-old would expect to have to invest CHF 14’700 – more than doubling of the cost of retirement over 10 years. In that time, inflation expectations have also fallen, but overall the cost of retirement has increased.

What can pension funds do?

Pension funds aim according to our experience to maintain the level of retirement benefits they provide while financing the promises already made. But pension funds are in a “zero-sum” game – without extra funding, members will ultimately receive lower benefits on average when results are not what was expected. Robust analysis and forecasting of what employees can expect to receive, combined with clear communication may be the best what they can do. Other measures are down to employees and employers as recipients and sponsors of retirement benefits.

What does this mean for individuals and employers?

Find higher returns? In conventional collective Swiss plans, employees share in the overall returns of the fund as they are credited to them. This limits opportunities to take more risks, with an expectation of higher returns. For higher earnings, it is possible to have individual strategies through a “1e” pension plan. These plans can be used to seek higher returns, but this may not be suitable for all.

Later retirements? Without saving more, employees have to retire later for the same outcome.  In some ways this is only reasonable: If life expectancies increase without changing retirement ages, the proportion of life we spend in retirement rises. Employers may have to prepare for the ageing effect on their business – not only their workforce recruitment and retention, but possibly their business strategy and target markets.

Employers pay more? One answer may be employers paying more. But employers face economic challenges themselves, with increasing competition and pressure for results. For most companies, raising costs or investing cash may not be palatable.

Employees pay more? Creating more awareness of the individual options available for the employees is one option. Additional voluntary employee contributions are typically deductible for tax purposes. Some employees don’t have confidence in their pension plan and are not keen to lock away money until retirement.

How can companies create further incentives for employees to pay more? A look abroad could help.

Could “matching” be part of the solution?

In the US as well as the UK, contribution “matching” is widely used in pension plan design. Employer contributions are adjusted to “match” those of employees. When an employee contributes a percentage of their salary into the plan, the employer contributes an amount directly linked to what the employee pays. This could be 1:1 – i.e. if the employee pays 2% of pay, employer pays the same. Or some ratio like 2:1 or 1:2.

The big advantages of matching are two-fold: it encourages employees to pay more; and it focuses employer spending where it is most valued by its employees. One of our clients challenged the common Swiss plan option of employers paying the same for all employees, whereas employees can choose their level: “Why can employees choose to pay less, but I cannot follow when they do?” A reasonable question that matching helps to address.

The challenge is that legislation in Switzerland currently restricts the ability to apply matching within the regular plan. The law requires the employer contribution rate to a pension plan to be the same for all employees in the same situation (e.g. age, grade etc). “Matching” can be done through the buy-in system. So with the right plan design, matching can be incorporated within the Swiss plan.

This won’t for every situation as the use of buy-ins is subject to certain caps and restrictions which may become a barrier. Plan administration may be more complex. But in challenging times for pension outcomes, new solutions may be needed.

Contact

Richard Köppel
Pensionskassen-Experte SKPE, Poeple and Organisation
Tel. +41 58 792 11 72
richard.koeppel@ch.pwc.com
Adrian Jones
Director, People and Organisation
Tel. +41 58 792 40 13
adrian.jones@ch.pwc.com

Switzerland publishes recommendations for new corporate tax proposal 17

After rejection by popular vote of the Swiss corporate tax reform III (CTR III) package in February 2017, a Swiss governmental working group comprised of federal and cantonal members (the steering body) has been working on a revised package (tax proposal 17).

The steering body on June 1, 2017, published its recommended contents for tax proposal 17. The Federal Council now will consider the draft proposal and is expected to publish a final proposal for consultation by end of June 2017. Thereafter, parlamentary discussions are expected to start in spring 2018 and entry into force is expected to take effect January 1, 2020.

Continue to read in detail in our current newsletter.

If you have questions, please contact your usual PwC contact person or one of PwC Switzerland´s experts named below.

Contacts

Andreas Staubli
Partner
Leader TLS Schweiz
Tel. +41 58 792 44 72
Send E-mail
Armin Marti
Partner
Leader CT Schweiz
Tel. +41 58 792 43 43
Send E-mail
Benjamin Koch
Partner
Leader TP and VCT
+41 58 792 43 34
Send E-mail
Daniel Gremaud
Partner
Tax & Legal
+41 58 792 81 23
Send E-mail
Claude-Alain Barke
Partner
Tax & Legal
+41 58 792 83 17
Send E-mail
Remo Küttel
Partner
Tax & Legal
+41 58 792 68 69
Send E-mail
Laurenz Schneider
Director
Tax & Legal
+41 58 792 59 38
Send E-mail

PwC’s CIO Roundtable 2017 – Master Data and other challenges

Thursday, 22.06.2017
18:00 – 19:00 hours
PwC Zurich
Birchstrasse 160, 8050 Zurich

About the event

Effective master data management is a key factor to success. Most companies are going through substantial transformation projects – either to become more effective or to open new business fields. What do have all these transformation projects in common? The difficulty of handling master data effectively and efficiently – knowing that master data is representing one of the basic pillars in companies’ information landscape. The way you build the governance, processes, tools and skills around this data is crucial and can speed up your transformation projects, or kill them instantly.

Do you want to find out more about challenges, issues and best practices ideas? Come and join us when we dive into the most relevant implications of master data management.

Registration Link

Contact Us

Alexej Freund
Senior Manager – Advisory Consulting
PwC Switzerland
Tel. +41 58 792 2754
alexej.freund@ch.pwc.com

Rejhan Fazlic
Manager – CIO Advisory
PwC Switzerland
Tel. +41 58 792 1148
rejhan.fazlic@ch.pwc.com

The countdown is on: one year to get ready for the EU General Data Protection Regulation GDPR

On 25 May 2016 the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) entered into force. After the elapse of the 2-year transposition period, it will become directly applicable on 25 May 2018.

The new EU data protection legislation introduces substantial changes for companies dealing with personal data: As a selection, the new requirements on transparency, on proportionality as well as on documentation when processing personal data are among the key changes. These are significant challenges for companies. In addition, the new legislation substantially improves the rights of the concerned individuals – the data subjects. Thanks to the GDPR, they now have clear-cut rights with regard to companies processing their data. Inter alia the key rights include the right on information, on rectification and deletion of personal data, on restriction of processing, on portability as well as the right to object processing. As data controllers, companies have to be able to comply with all these rights.

Besides new duties and compliance obligations for companies, data protection authorities are given new competences and enforcement instruments. Standing out are the new sanctions of up to the amount of EUR 20m or 4% of the international annual turnover of the concerned company, whichever is higher.

Recommendation

Swiss companies that (e.g. because they do business in the EU) are subject to the GDPR now have one year to make the necessary adaptions to comply with the GDPR. The new requirements are to be analyzed, gaps to be identified and mitigation actions to be planned and implemented. It is important to be prepared.

Contacts:

Susanne Hofmann
Legal Compliance Leader
+41 58 792 17 12
Email

Michael Adrian Meyer
Legal Services – Senior Manager
+41 58 792 51 31
Email

Reto Häni
Partner and Leader Cybersecurity
+41 58 792 75 12
Email

Idir Laurent Khiar
Legal Services – Assistant Manager
+41 58 792 17 51
Email

The Future of Wealth Management

PwC’s 4th FS-Talk

Wealth managers are challenged by shifting client segments and disruptive technologies PwC experts discuss the key success factors for wealth managers today. Private client re-segmentation makes value-added services more important. Demands on relationship managers are increasing. Operations are under pressure to deliver higher efficiency. Listen in for pointers of where the challenges are and which technologies provide opportunities to gain a competitive edge.

Watch the latest video of our FS-Talk:

Get in contact with the speakers:

Dieter Wirth
Partner / Financial Service Leader
+41 58 792 4488
dieter.wirth@ch.pwc.com

Marcel Tschanz
Partner Advisory
+41 58 792 2087
marcel.tschanz@ch.pwc.com

Marcel Widrig
Partner / Private Wealth Leader
+41 58 792 4450
marcel.widrig@ch.pwc.com

EUDTG Newsletter March – April 2017

EU direct tax law is a fast developing area. This presents taxpayers, in particular groups and multinational corporations that have an EU or European Economic Area (EEA) presence, with various challenges.

The following topics are covered in this issue of EU Tax News:

CJEU Cases

  • Belgium: CJEU judgment on interpretation of the subject-to-tax requirement of the Parent-Subsidiary Directive: Wereldhave
  • Belgium: AG Opinion on interest deduction limitation in light of the Parent-Subsidiary Directive: Argenta
  • Germany: CJEU referral on the German CFC rules: X

National Developments

  • Belgium: Supreme Court does not allow withholding tax refunds for dividends received by investment companies before 12 June 2003
  • Belgium: CJEU referral by the Commission of Belgium over the discriminatory tax treatment of foreign real estate income
  • Finland: Supreme Administrative Court confirms tax treatment of dividend income from third countries to be in line with Articles 63 and 65 TFEU
  • Italy: Amendments to the NID and Patent Box Regime
  • Norway: Government’s response to ESA’s decision on the compatibility of the Norwegian interest limitation rules with the freedom of establishment
  • Poland: Supreme Administrative Court judgment on the settlement of foreign branch losses
  • Spain: Supreme Court judgment on State aid recovery procedure
  • United Kingdom: England and Wales High Court judgment regarding repayment of stamp duty reserve tax: Jazztel plc v The Commissioners for HMRC
  • United Kingdom: The Great Repeal Bill White Paper

EU Developments

  • EU: European Parliament clears way for formal adoption of ATAD II by the ECOFIN Council
  • EU: Update on EU proposal for public country-by-country reporting
  • EU: Council adopts conclusions on EU relations with the Swiss Confederation
  • EU: Informal ECOFIN Council held in Malta in early April

Fiscal State aid

  • Greece: CJEU judgment on State aid implemented by Greece: Ellinikos Chrysos AE
  • Italy: CJEU judgment on Italian bankruptcy procedure: Marco Identi

Read the full newsletter here.

This EU Tax Newsletter is prepared by members of PwC’s international EU Direct Tax Group (EUDTG).

Further information about our service offerings in EU taxes: www.pwc.com/eudtg

PwC-Immospektive Q2/17

Interpretation of the FPRE real estate meta analysis Q2/17

Swiss economy regains it’s confidence. While revenues in the construction industry remain above average the market for rental apartments is seeing bad omens for the first time. The forecasted economic growth is optimistic and likely to bring a pick-up in demand for office space.

More information

Contact

Kurt Ritz
Partner, Real Estate Advisory
+41 58 792 14 49
kurt.ritz@ch.pwc.com

Marie Seiler
Director, Real Estate Advisory
+41 58 792 56 69
marie.seiler@ch.pwc.com

Samuel Berner
Real Estate Advisory
+41 58 792 17 39
samuel.berner@ch.pwc.com