Marc Chesney moved to Zurich from Paris. The finance professor is inspired by the city's international appeal, as well as the lakes and mountains directly at his doorstep. 

You grew up in Paris and from 1993 were Professor of Finance at the HEC in Paris. What prompted you to change to the University of Zurich in 2003?

That’s easy to answer: The University of Zurich's reputation and the city's quality of life are both excellent.

As an academic, you are known for your pointed opinions. Do you like taking a stand in public?

Yes, I see it as part of my task as an academic to participate in the public debate by providing food for thought.

You are currently advocating holding a referendum that promises to revolutionize the taxation system in Switzerland by means of direct democracy. What does this initiative involve?

We – five experts from the fields of science, business, and politics – would like to introduce an automatic Micro-Tax on all payment transactions. It would be extremely efficient and would also result in a reduction in the overall tax burden for most people. In addition, it would significantly simplify the tax system.

Professor Marc Chesney is Head of the Department of Banking and Finance at the University of Zurich. He provides the banking sector with thought-provoking ideas.

Would the introduction of a Micro-Tax have an impact on the financial hub, where you think action needs to be taken?

Yes, the complexity and systemic risk are currently too high in the financial sector.

In the past, you have compared the conditions in the financial sector with a vehicle driving very fast in the fog, and are warning that the next crash is imminent. What additional precautionary measures do you recommend?

An important measure would be a certification process similar to what already exists in most industries. We need to examine to what extent new projects in the financial sector – that is, financial innovations – really benefit the economy.

Where in Zurich and region do you draw inspiration for your work?

I love the nature in Canton Zurich – the lake and the nearby mountains. The city's international appeal is also very inspiring.