SA billions in Swiss banks

South Africa has over R36.5 billion stashed away inside the Swiss banking system, accounting for 0.23% of all foreign currency stowed in the country.

This is according to the latest data released by the Switzerland National Bank (SNB), the country’s banking policy maker, which reported financial data for the 283 countries and banking regions storing money across 80 Swiss banks.

The data reveals that direct foreign currency exposure to Swiss banks totals 1.24 trillion francs (US$1.38 trillion), with a further 91.45 billion francs (US$102.1 billion) held through fiduciaries – totaling just over 1.33 billion francs (US$1.5 trillion).

Ranking countries based on the direct client exposure as well as funds held through “fiduciaries” or wealth managers with Swiss banks, the UK by far has the largest amount of money stored in the system, with total exposure equaling 276.9 billion francs (US$309.5 billion).

The USA has the second largest stash, with 193 billion francs (US$216.3 billion) kept safe in Swiss banks, while the West Indies (in the UK) rank third with just over 100 billion francs (US$111.7 billion) worth exposed to the market.

Notably, the top 5 countries’ exposure accounts for over 50% of the total amount of foreign currency held by the country’s banks.

Top 10 countries with money in Swiss banks (US$millions)

Country Direct exposure
Fiduciary Exposure
United Kingdom 305,178 4,300 309,478
United States 214,917 1,414 216,332
West Indies (UK) 93,266 18,771 112,037
Germany 56,851 1,691 58,543
Guernsey 54,680 771 55,451
Luxembourg 50,723 4,074 54,797
Jersey 49,347 2,457 51,805
Bahamas 45,942 4,792 50,734
France 46,694 1,833 48,527
Panama 32,824 6,218 39,043

Looking at the Brics nations, only Russia ranked within the top 20 markets (16th) with 15.8 billion francs (US$17.6 billion), with China’s 6.7 billion francs (US$7.5 billion) and Brazil’s 3.8 billion francs (US$4.2 billion) following in 30th.

South Africa – ranked 43rd overall – has a total exposure equals close to 3.1 billion francs (US$3.44 billion) – over R36.5 billion – while India, ranked 58th overall, rounds off the Brics nations with 2.03 billion francs (US$2.27 billion).

Brics nations with money in Swiss banks (US$millions)

Country Direct Exposure Fiduciary Exposire Total
Russia 14,801 2,831 17,632
China 7,466 74 7,541
Brazil 3,877 340 4,218
South Africa 3,289 151 3,441
India 2,182 86 2,268

(Conversions: $1 = R10.61 | $1 = 0.89 francs)

SA currecny exposure to Swiss banks
SA currency exposure to Swiss banks

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SA billions in Swiss banks