Switzerland – the UK’s post-Brexit pal and investment hotspot?

Switzerland – home of expensive watches, delicious chocolate and retro-styled cuckoo clocks. And as of February, it is one of the UK’s best buddies.

Just before Valentine’s Day, Switzerland became one of the few nations on earth to have agreed a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK.

While the government puts together a pipeline of all the other nations queuing up for a piece of UK plc action, let’s have a look at what our landlocked friends in the heart of Europe (but outside the Union) have to offer in terms of equity investments.

We can start with something we all know: Nestlé. One of the largest international grocery companies, it produces everything from Coffee Mate to Go Cat and plenty in between, with its goods found on shop shelves all over the world. It is headquartered by a lake in the Vaud region of Switzerland and is publicly listed on the nation’s stock exchange.

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It was founded in Switzerland more than 150 years ago and has grown both through its own strength and acquiring competitors. It still produces some of the most recognisable chocolate and confectionery brands in the world, including Aero, Baby Ruth and Walnut Whip.

Next, watches. Once omnipresent on the arms of European teenagers, the Swatch Group is listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange. But rather than focusing on the low end, high volume market, take a look at the brands it operates for its much splashier clientele.

Omega, Longines, Rado and Breguet are in the Swatch stable – alongside Flik Flak for its younger aficionados – making it one of the most valuable luxury brands in Europe.

Going off piste a little, Switzerland is less known by the masses for its pharmaceutical industry, which is in fact rather large.

Novartis, which makes Ritalin – to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy – and Roche, the producer of flu vaccine Tamiflu, are both listed on the Swiss exchange.

Finally, Switzerland is also known for its banks and wealth managers – and there is of course a smattering of those in the top 20 stocks trading on its exchange. UBS, Credit Suisse and Julian Bear sit alongside reinsurers Zurich and Swiss Re.

The tiny non-EU nation is known for its quality and expense – both of which are in evidence through its stocks. But play your cards right, and you might end up not just a shareholder, but a customer of some of these top brands, too.

Your capital is at risk.

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