A NEW CHANNEL IN THE FINANCIAL SPACE

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The online marketplace Scout24 is expanding into the business of loans, mortgages, and car insurance. Jan Hinrichs, managing director of the new FinanceScout24, says it’s a natural extension of the company’s existing online marketplace. “If we look at our three million users every month, we already see on the platform this desire to get financing in a convenient way and car insurance as well,” he says.

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KOF: Outlook for Swiss economy remains subdued
The KOF leading indicators index, a forecast of the Swiss economy six months from now, fell in November to the lowest level since 2015. While the decline was unexpected, KOF Director Jan-Egbert Sturm said it doesn’t change the institute’s “ballpark” forecast of 1 percent growth next year.

Swiss students concerned about access to Europe, says Foraus director
Nearly 2,000 projects in Switzerland received funding under the EU’s 100-billion-euro Horizon 2020 research program, which runs until 2021. Anna Stünzi, director at independent think tank Foraus, voices her concerns over access to future funding and warns that the current deadlock in talks with EU should not come at a cost to Switzerland’s education sector.

Do the EU and Switzerland need to call time out on treaty talks?
Switzerland should not be strong-armed into signing a treaty with the European Union, says Stefan Legge, lecturer at the University of St. Gallen. At the same time, if the country isn’t happy with the draft agreement, he says, it should suggest ways to improve it, and “these proposals should include something the European Union would like to see.”

Swiss GDP? It’s history!
Switzerland’s economy grew by a better-than-expected 0.4 percent in the third quarter, driven by exports in pharmaceuticals and the energy sector. However, Thomas Stucki, CIO at St. Galler Kantonalbank, cautions against assessing the GDP in isolation, arguing that it is largely historical.

Avenir Suisse: Not signing Swiss-EU deal with Juncker a missed opportunity
As prospects of a deal between the EU and Switzerland remain elusive, Peter Grünenfelder, director of the think tank Avenir Suisse, argues that Switzerland “missed an opportunity” by not signing the treaty under the leadership of former European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, who, he says, showed sympathy and fondness toward Switzerland.

Pictet: Fed’s Treasury purchases will drive stock markets higher
This time last year, the Federal Reserve was looking to shrink its balance sheet. But a spike in short-term lending rates in September has prompted the U.S. central bank to resume buying Treasury bills at an initial pace of $60 billion a month. Anastassios Frangulidis of Pictet Asset Management says the excess liquidity will lead to higher stock prices into next year in a market that is already trading at record peaks.

SNB refrain: Can’t rule out a rate cut
Ahead of next month’s rate decision, Swiss National Bank policy makers keep reminding markets that there’s room to go lower. So far, the verbal guidance has been successful in stemming the rise of the franc, says Adriano Lucatelli, CEO of Descartes Finance. “People trust the national bank that they will not do it, but they have never been really, really tested by the global currency markets.”

Swiss thought leaders on relations with the EU
After the recent Swiss elections and still no decision on the framework agreement between Switzerland and the European Union, we ask Swiss CEOs and thought leaders how concerned they are about the bilateral relationship.

On the future of Swiss-EU relations
Ahead of the Europa Forum, where CNNMoney Switzerland is a media partner, we discuss the future of Swiss-EU relations. We start our special week with an economic outlook from Cédric Tille, professor of international economics at the Graduate Institute in Geneva.