PwC Deal Talk – Doing Deals in France from a Swiss Investor’s Perspective

Edition 3/2017

With nearly 600 kilometers of common border, France and Switzerland have historically maintained close trading ties. In 2015, Swiss exports to France amounted to USD 14.4 bn mainly consisting of pharmaceutical and chemicals products and watchmaking items. With cumulative invested capital of EUR 42.4 bn at the end of 2015, Switzerland is amongst the biggest foreign investors in France.

France recently emerged as one of the most active European countries in terms of venture capital investments, paving the way for further foreign capital inflow. In the meantime, the French economy is slowly recovering from the 2008 global financial crisis and has shown a GDP growth reaching 1.1% in 2016. This recovery was also visible in M&A activity, which increased in terms of value and number of deals, particularly in the past three years.

Nonetheless, the French market is distinct from the rest of Europe and investors need to be aware of some unique features applicable to transactions. With first-hand experience and local teams on the ground, PwC can help you to avoid common pitfalls when doing deals in France.

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Contact Us

Sascha Beer
Corporate Finance / M&A
Tel. +41 58 792 1539

Nico Psarras
Head of Transaction Services
Tel. +41 58 792 1572

Maxime Dubouloz
Head of M&A Western Switzerland
Tel. +41 58 792 9058

Mathieu Gravier
Senior Manager, Transaction Services
Tel. +41 58 792 9300


Switzerland: New social security treaty between Switzerland and China

A social security treaty between Switzerland and the People’s Republic of China (China) will enter into force on 19 June 2017. The maximum posting period is 72 months. For the duration of the posting employees (regardless their nationality) are exempt from the compulsory insurance obligations of the country of occupation which are covered in the social security treaty. As from 19 June 2017 it will be possible to obtain a Certificate of Coverage.


Click here for more details



Véronique Schaller
+41 58 792 5036

Natalia Graf
+41 58 792 4324


Winning the fight for female talent: How to gain the diversity edge through inclusive recruitment

Gain the diversity edge through inclusive recruitment

Today, more and more CEOs regard talent diversity and inclusion as vital to their organisation’s ability to drive innovation and gain competitive advantage. And as businesses across the world inject greater urgency into their gender diversity efforts, we’re seeing an intensifying focus on hiring female talent. In fact, 78% of large organisations tell us they’re actively seeking to hire more women – especially into more experienced and senior level positions.

PwC’s new report, Winning the fight for female talent, explores how organisations are seeking to deliver on their gender diversity attraction goals. We also examine the impact of these approaches and – more generally – how they’re matching up to the career aspirations and diversity experiences and expectations of the modern workforce.

Download the full report here.


PwC Deal Talk – Doing Deals in the US

Edition: 2/2017

The US is an important trade partner for Switzerland. In 2015, Swiss exports to the US amounted to USD 37bn and mainly consisted of pharmaceutical products, metals, optical and medical instruments, organic chemicals, clocks and watches, machinery and mechanical appliances. With a total cumulated invested capital of USD 258bn as of 2015, Switzerland is among the ten largest foreign direct investors in the US. Despite a strong US dollar, the US currently offers an attractive, innovation driven macroeconomic environment with strong growth prospects. Hence, attractive investment opportunities arise for Swiss investors. While the US market has some similarities to the European market, there are some unique features that investors need to be aware of. With first-hand experience and local teams on the ground, PwC can help you to avoid common pitfalls when doing deals in the US.

Read PwC Deal Talk 


Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Sascha Beer
Corporate Finance / M&A
+41 58 792 15 39

Andreas Plattner
Corporate Finance / M&A
+41 58 792 44 10

Steady progress in boosting female economic empowerment, but gender pay gap still a major issue

PwC Women in Work Index

Prize of pay parity in OECD could mean US$2 trillion increase in total female earnings

Latest PwC Women in Work Index reveals:

  • Gradual improvement in female economic empowerment in OECD
  • Nordic countries still lead the way, with Iceland, Sweden and Norway taking top 3 spots
  • Poland climbs into top 10 thanks to gains in cutting female unemployment
  • Other top 10 places held by New Zealand, Slovenia, Denmark, Luxembourg, Finland and Switzerland
  • But gender pay gap poses major challenge, with parity still decades if not centuries away
  • Potential prize of closing the gap could boost total female earnings by US$2 trillion

21st February, 2017 – Slow but steady progress continues to be made in OECD countries towards greater female economic empowerment, according to a new PwC report.

But the gender pay gap continues to be a major issue, with the average working woman in the OECD still earning 16% less than her male counterpart – despite becoming better qualified.

The latest PwC Women in Work Index, which measures levels of female economic empowerment across 33 OECD countries based on five key indicators, shows that the Nordic countries – particularly Iceland, Sweden and Norway – continue to occupy the top positions on the Index. Poland stands out for achieving the largest annual improvement, rising from 12th to 9th. This is due to a fall in female unemployment and an increase in the full-time employment rate.

PwC analysis shows that there are significant economic benefits in the long term from increasing the female employment rate to match that of Sweden; the GDP gains across the OECD could be around US$6 trillion.


When it comes to closing the gender pay gap, countries such as Poland, Luxembourg and Belgium could see the gap fully close within two decades if historical trends continue. But much slower historical progress in Germany and Spain means that their gap might not close for more than two centuries, although making this a policy priority could accelerate progress. The gains from achieving pay parity in the OECD are substantial – it could result in a potential boost in female earnings of around US$2 trillion at today’s values.

Download the full report here.



Hans Geene
+41 58 792 9124

Charles Donkor
+41 58 792 4554

New report: PwC’s 20th Global CEO Survey – Harnessing the power of human skills in the machine age

The talent challenge: Harnessing the power of human skills in the machine age

pwc_ceo survey_2017

With the rise of automation, we’ve reached a point where we’re questioning the role people play in the workplace. How to achieve the right mix of people and machines in the workplace is the critical talent question of our age.

Fifty-two percent of CEOs say that they’re exploring the benefits of humans and machine working together and 39% are considering the impact of Artificial Intelligence on future skills needs. This is a delicate balancing act for CEOs in every sector and region.

However, you can’t have a machine age without humans and 52% are planning to increase headcount over the next 12 months. They are focused on obtaining the skills that they need to create a world where humans and machines work alongside each other.

Different skills will be needed, roles will disappear and others will evolve. Some organisations will need fewer people, but others will need more. There will be a rebalancing of human capital as organisations adjust.

Exceptional skills and leadership will be needed, and yet 77% of CEOs say they see the availability of key skills as the biggest business threat. Todays in demand skills are exclusively human capabilities – adaptability, problem solving, creativity and leadership. Software cannot imitate passion, character or collaborative spirit. By marrying these skills with technology, innovation can thrive and organisations can succeed in competitive market places.

CEOs have an enormous challenge ahead of them; it is the role of business leaders to protect and nurture their people to show that in the technological age, humans are their priority.

Our new report – The talent challenge: Harnessing the power of human skills in the machine age – looks at the dilemmas facing CEOs and their HR teams in today’s environment and how their businesses can stay ahead.

Download the full report here.



Hans Geene
+41 58 792 9124

Charles Donkor
+41 58 792 4554

Mass dismissals – beware of the pitfalls

Under Swiss law, mass dismissals require compliance with special procedures, which are stated in the Swiss Code of Obligations (CO). It is important to adhere to the rules, as non-compliance may result in lawsuits (for unfair dismissal) or the continuance of the employment relationships. However, when do we speak of mass dismissals and what are the required procedures?

Notices of termination given by the employer within a period of 30 days for reasons unrelated to the individual employee and affecting the following numbers of employees are considered as ‘mass dismissals’ (art. 335d CO):

  • 10 employees in a business usually employing more than 20 and less than 100 employees;
  • 10 percent of the workforce in a business usually employing more than 100 and less than 300 employees;
  • 30 employees in a business employing more than 300 employees.
    While terminations for altered conditions and early terminations of a temporary contract are considered to be relevant for purposes of the rules on mass dismissal, terminations based on termination agreements or due to the employer’s bankruptcy are not included within the coverage of the rules.

Continue to read in our current newsletter.

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

Martin Zeier
Legal Services
Myriam Büchi
Legal Services
Christine Bassanello
Legal Services

PwC Deal Talk – Doing Deals in Canada

Edition: 1/2017

DealTalk_E1Canada is an important trade partner for Switzerland. In 2015, Swiss exports to Canada amounted to USD 3.4 bn and mainly consisted of pharmaceutical products, organic chemicals, scientific and precision instruments, machinery and equipment, clocks, watches and parts. Moreover, with a total invested capital of USD 8.9 bn at the end of 2015, Switzerland is also among the ten biggest foreign investors in Canada.

The current weak Canadian Dollar offers attractive investment opportunities for Swiss investors. While the Canadian market has some similarities to the US and European market, there are some unique features that investors need to be aware of. With first-hand experience and local teams on the ground, PwC can help you to avoid common pitfalls when doing deals in Canada.

Read the PwC Deal Talk


Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Sascha Beer
Corporate Finance / M&A
+41 58 792 15 39

Michael Huber
Senior Manager
Corporate Finance / M&A
+41 58 792 15 42

PwC & HR Today Survey “Future of work”

Your chance to win a prize: invitation to take part in the survey


To the survey


PwC has joined forces with HR Today to present a series of studies entitled HR Today Research. The aim is to foster dialogue with the professional HR community and encourage people to participate in the HR-specific survey. Take part and you could win a night for two in one of the five star hotels in the Victoria Jungfrau Collection.

The study results will be published in the spring of 2017 via the channels of HR Today and presented at an event.

More information can be found here.

Brexit – what it could mean and what you should do

The United Kingdom is clearly one of the key drivers of Europe’s financial services industry and London undisputedly takes the crown amongst its financial centers. The surprise vote in Britain to exit from the European Union (“EU”) and as a consequence from its harmonised market raises many questions. This in particular also affects many Swiss financial intermediaries who have so far relied on the UK as their hub of choice for accessing the EU market with their products and services or who have entered into strategic relationships with UK players.

Everything changes. Fundamentally.

First the good news: Irrespective of the Brexit the UK will remain a member of the World Trade Organisation (“WTO”), and as such will continue to be entitled to all benefits of WTO membership regarding international trade in goods and services. But the exit from the EU will of course mean that the UK will in principle no longer be able to enjoy the intra-EU preferential trade benefits or preferential arrangements negotiated between the EU and third countries.

The impact on the regulatory front is expected to be severe as the UK will no longer be subject to the harmonised EU product and service market regulations which, as history has shown in the past few decades, had led to the creation of true dominant designs with significant impact on competitiveness and indeed success in the European financial services arena. As the UK will lose the benefit of the principle that goods sold and services offered in one EU market are presumed to be suitable for sale in others, its industry will depend on successful negotiations of regulatory approvals and mutual recognition policies. For UK-based financial services firms that means that they will lose their current passporting right and hence their ability to undertake EU-cross-border business for example as EU credit institutions, investment firms, alternative investment fund managers or insurance undertakings. This is a situation Switzerland and its financial intermediaries are well familiar with but unlike the Swiss, the UK has little experience with this and is in addition burdened with uncertainty surrounding the details of how this will play out. This may ultimately lead to situations where players if in doubt will opt for the more certain option, which is what we currently already observe with some of our clients who consider moving operations back to Switzerland or in the case of products to other domiciles.

From the perspective of applicable rules it can be expected that EU legislation which has been transposed into the UK framework and is in force will remain applicable until changes are made. When it comes to new EU rules currently under way such as for example MiFID II or PRIIPs, the situation is far less clear. The same is true for EU regulations which so far have become directly applicable and where this modus operandi is now not given any more. This regulatory vacuum and legal uncertainty clearly is the most undesirable situation for financial services firms trying to run efficient regulatory change projects or implement a truly competitive regulatory set-up.

All of this is further amplified by the fact that the UK’s exit from the EU also means that UK citizens will no longer have the right to move freely to work within the EU, and EU citizens no longer have the right to work within the UK, which impacts on firm’s growth strategies which are often built around the ability to deploy key talent. Of course it should not be forgotten that there will also be a negative impact on firms currently doing cross-border business into the UK or via branch structures and on EU products distributed into the UK.

How are Swiss financial intermediaries with UK structures or EU products geared towards the UK affected?

A – Asset Management: Fund Managers and Fund Distribution

Swiss promotors who have launched UK funds qualified as UCITS or EU AIFs will most likely lose the benefit of such status for their products with according impact on their ability to distribute competitively to their respective audiences across the EU. This threat is further amplified by the fact that national private placement regimes for non-EU AIFs are potentially phased out in the near future, which would then potentially even shut that door on them. At the same time EU products of Swiss promotors distributed in the UK may face higher entrance barriers. What is true on product level also applies for institutes. UK UCITS managers, ManCo’s as well as AIFMs will potentially lose their passport, which might be particularly challenging when services are rendered vis-à-vis structures domiciled in the EU. In the AIFMD-context to correct this the UK will require accessing the third country passporting regime based on equivalence of regulation considerations, which effectively puts the UK in the same spot as Switzerland, only that Switzerland is already further advanced in these efforts as the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has already issued a clean bill of health on behalf of Switzerland last summer. If this should not work out, UK AIFMs would become downgraded to non-EU AIFMs with limited ability to manage EU AIFs and effectively forcing them to seek licensing elsewhere in the EU or contract appropriately licensed service providers to then back-delegate portfolio management to them.

B – Banking and Payment Services

A number of Swiss banking groups also have UK entities and are engaged in providing a broad range of services covering the entire spectrum from investment banking to retail and private banking, and stand-alone wealth management or payment services. As far as these entities are not only dedicated to serving the UK market but also to cater to clients within the EU – either via branches or via cross-border activities – the impact of the Brexit may be significant on such business models as again required status for the provision of services may be lost. Affected passports will clearly be the ones under the Capital Requirements Directive, MiFID and the Payment Services Directive. If branches of UK banks are established throughout the EU, it will likely be necessary to convert them into legal entities and to get them authorised by the competent authorities in target countries with according impact on capital, resource and infrastructure requirements as well as tax consequences.

C – Capital Markets and Insurers

Many UK operations of Swiss financial intermediaries are focused on the offering of securities and in doing so very often benefit from the availability of passports in particular of prospectuses according to the EU Prospectus Directive to cater to all of the EU. Loss of this may significantly impact on business models.

Lastly we would like to point out that also the insurance sector will be impacted by Brexit and the anticipated loss of passports this may likely cause for UK-domiciled entities also of Swiss groups. It should be noted though that already today most Swiss players extensively use Luxembourg, Irish or Liechtenstein solutions or have in the recent past started to transition to these. This will be of lesser relevance to the re-insurance sector but even there an impact may be felt.

Call to action

We have in the past months leading up to the vote worked with various clients on developing response scenarios and the one thing that has become very clear is that in particular the impact in the regulatory sphere is tremendous and that all modifications to existing structures require thorough planning, significant time to implement and also must consider tax consequences. It goes without saying that in all instances overall strategies require revisiting and entire business models may be severely impacted. Uncertainty around the way the Brexit will take effect will continue for some more time but now clearly is the time to put this on the top of the agenda. We are at your disposal and would be most happy to share our insight with you.

Please do not hesitate to contact us.