The Swiss Finance Institute is a private foundation created in 2006 by Switzerland's banking and finance community in cooperation with leading Swiss universities. It supports and advances research, doctoral training and executive education in banking and finance. The Institute is supported by the Swiss banks, the Swiss Stock Exchange, Swiss universities and the Swiss Federal Government.
As a world-leading financial centre, Switzerland has the ambition to house a world-leading research and training center in banking and finance. In pursuit of this ambition the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) has invested in the creation of the Swiss Finance Institute, a foundation with the sole purpose of achieving excellence in banking and finance education and research.
The initiative was well received by the Swiss universities as well as the Swiss federal government. The Swiss federal government supports the goals of the Swiss Finance Institute via the Swiss National Science Foundation, and it strongly encourages a close coordination among the universities, considering the initiative of the Swiss Finance Institute an outstanding example of public-private cooperation in academia.
Since the Swiss Finance Institute was founded in 2006 it has become a leading research and teaching organization in the area of banking and finance. It aims to further strengthen this position by achieving top-3 status in Europe and top-10 in the world. To reach this objective a total of 50 faculties at our partner universities are being supported with appropriate incentive, selected fundamental and applied research projects are being financed on an ongoing basis, and our PhD program in finance, which has already grown into one of the most recognized programs in the world, will continue to be strengthened.
Moreover, we want to make the Swiss Finance Institute, and thus Switzerland, the benchmark for high level executive education in banking and finance.
The Swiss Finance Institute is active in both research and executive education. Excellence at both levels will increase Switzerland’s attractiveness for outstanding researchers, teachers, students as well as participants in executive education programs, and sustain the ambition of becoming a world leader in banking and finance education.
Our commitment to research is manifest in three specific areas: structural promotion, a PhD- program and support of research projects.
- Structural promotion. By co-financing university professorships through an incentive-driven scheme, the Swiss Finance Institute is attracting leading professors and researchers in the field of banking and finance to teaching positions at our partner universities. This so-called structural promotion fosters more solid partnerships extending across national borders and ensures that the research structures are in place to sustain excellence in research and executive education. We have already seen the impact of our structural build-up in measureable ways, such as an increasing number of top-level research publications on par with the foremost international institutions, and a significant advancement of the Swiss Finance Institute in various research rankings.
- PhD Program. Focusing on the importance of cultivating high-potential researchers, the Swiss Finance Institute supports and promotes a nationally-coordinated PhD program for outstanding doctoral candidates. In line with an internationally recognized PhD model, the Swiss Finance Institute offers a selected group of students holding a master degree in financial economics the best possible start to their professional career, namely a defined three to four-year programme with courses / seminars and intensive tutoring. Our PhD program in the meantime has become one of the largest doctoral programs in finance in the world. Quality goes along with quantity as our PhD graduates over the past few years have achieved placements at the very top institutions in the world.
- Research Projects. The Swiss Finance Institute supports and promotes promising research projects in selected subject areas. Our commitment to supporting research projects is to ensure that the best researchers find the most satisfactory research conditions available. Faculty and Doctoral research grants directly complement facilities offered by universities and other research sponsors. Awarded annually, the Swiss Finance Institute Prize provides visibility to the best recent research published in the field of asset management and financial engineering.
An independent body of eminent internationally recognized finance researchers from outside of Switzerland, the Scientific Council, is tasked with ensuring that the highest international standards in research are being consistently applied in all three areas above. All three areas of activity are designed to nourish a productive research activity within the universities, and to disseminate its output in practitioners’ circles.
Promoting Executive Education
Aware of the necessity of upholding a high level of executive education, the Swiss Finance Institute offers a select number of international and national executive programs which is constantly adapted to the needs of the industry. For example, a new international Executive MBA in Asset and Wealth Management has been launched jointly with HEC Lausanne, the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Lausanne, and the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. The first class will start in May 2011.
Special knowledge transfer events encourage the exchange between academia and practice. These events enhance the flow of research findings into practice while, conversely, allowing practical requirements to feed back into research topics.
The Swiss Finance Institute has set up an Executive Education Advisory Board comprising leading specialists and experienced practitioners from the fields of education in banking and finance to oversee the strategic orientation of the courses offered and to ensure that highest standards of quality are upheld.
All involved partners contribute financially to the foundation’s efforts. Every year, the Swiss federal government through its Swiss National Science Foundation contributes between CHF 2 and 3 million to the funding of research projects. The partner universities contribute CHF 6 million p.a. through co-financing of research projects and co-financing of professorships. The Swiss Finance Institute then fills any funding gaps. The Swiss Finance Institute has been set up with funds of CHF 75 million to be paid out over the next 12 to 15 years in amounts of 5 - 7 million per year. Each member bank of the Swiss Bankers Association contributed its fair share. Some, including the founder banks of the Swiss Finance Institute, have made substantial additional contributions. All these measures play a major role in ensuring the initiatives’ long-term sustainability.