Introductory remarks by Pater Tenebrarum:

We have recently discussed the backdrop to the Swiss gold referendum in these pages (see: “Switzerland’s Referendum on Gold” for details), pointing out that the Swiss National Bank is no different from other central banks in terms of its money printing proclivities. In fact, it is even worse, if we merely look at the money supply expansion in Switzerland since 2008 (and they are afraid of “deflation”, which is surely the height of absurdity).

Egon von Greyerz similarly notes that Swiss monetary policy has slowly but surely gone from prudence to “what everybody else is doing”, which is actually quite contrary to Swiss tradition. Consequently, the Swiss Franc is actually rather risky these days. He makes the additional important point that the Swiss banking industry is extremely large relative to the country’s economic output, a fact that brings its own risks with it (as e.g. the Cyprus debacle has shown).

Swiss citizens take their referendums seriously – direct democracy is cherished in Switzerland and people generally participate quite actively. We also noted that what might be loosely termed “conservative” and even – gasp! – libertarian causes often tend to find the necessary support, while the Swiss have usually proved to be quite sane on the question whether socialist measures should be introduced (see e.g. our previous missive “The Swiss Remain Sane” for a pertinent example). They hate being dictated to and at times their decisions are greeted with howls of outrage by etatistes around the world, always proof positive that the decisions were the right ones.

Not surprisingly, Switzerland is in the top four of the list of the economically most free countries in the world, and is the undisputed number one in Europe. As the Heritage Foundation summarizes:


#4 Switzerland

Switzerland’s economic freedom score is 81.6, making its economy the 4th freest for the first time ever in the 2014 Index. Its score is 0.6 point higher than last year, with improvements in trade freedom and the management of public spending partially offset by declines in monetary freedom and labor freedom. Switzerland is ranked 1st out of 43 countries in the Europe region. Read More About Switzerland


As you can see, there is some scope for improvement in the area of “monetary freedom”. We assume, meaning: scope for reducing central bank intervention in the economy. The Swiss now have the unique opportunity of achieving just that. At this point in time polls show the two camps running neck-on-neck, with the yes vote enjoying a small lead. So it is still too early to call the outcome of the referendum.

The Swiss government and the SNB are working overtime trying to convince the population against reducing the central bank’s flexibility, but as noted above, the Swiss don’t like being told what they are supposed to think (least of all, we assume, by a bunch of Keynesian dunderheads). So there is actually a reasonably good chance this initiative will fly.

Dan Popescu Interviews Egon von Greyerz

Below is Dan Popescu’s exclusive interview with Egon von Greyerz, the Founder and Managing Partner of Matterhorn Asset Management and a Member of the Board of Directors of, on the Swiss Gold Referendum (which takes place on November 30). Topics discussed:


– Recent poll on the Swiss Gold Initiative
– A Yes vote would be a shock to the gold market
– The Swiss people and their relationship with gold
– China’s official gold reserves


Interview with Egon von Greyerz


AUDIO PODCAST: Click here to download this interview and listen it at your leisure.


egonEgon von Greyerz, whose desk is remarkably uncluttered compared to ours.

(Screenshot via




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8 Responses to “Egon von Greyerz: A Swiss Gold Referendum Yes Vote Will Be a Trendsetter for Central Banks”

  • 23571113:

    The vote is not going to change a thing about the gold market or gold price. The possibility of a yes vote is in fact an indication that the bear market in gold has not bottomed, for one would expect a general feeling of rejection towards gold at the bottom rather than enthusiasm among people.

    • jimmyjames:

      The possibility of a yes vote is in fact an indication that the bear market in gold has not bottomed, for one would expect a general feeling of rejection towards gold at the bottom rather than enthusiasm among people.


      It seems the yes/no vote is sort of split down the middle at this point .. as far as enthusiasm/rejection towards gold goes .. it’s already overwhelmingly pointing to rejection .. not that it couldn’t get worse ..

  • jimmyjames:

    He says several times in the interview that the Swiss will have to buy that gold (1,500 tons) .. why would they have to buy it if it’s just simply stored in other countries .. why not just load it on a plane and ship it home ..

    Supposedly most of it has been safely stored in Canada and the UK central banks .. both of which have been supervised by squid specialist Mark Carney ):

    • VB:

      Currently gold reserves owned by the Swiss central bank (domestically or abroad) is valued to about 7.5% of its monetary base. The referendum calls for 1) increasing that to 20%, 2) bringing all the foreign-held gold reserves home and 3) never selling any gold reserves. If it passes, the SNB will be forced to buy additional gold equal to about twice as much as it currently has.

      Personally, I don’t think that it will pass. Again, like with the Scottish independence vote, too many special interests are involved to allow the plebs have what they want.

      Even if it does pass, the SNB will have 5 years (I think; could be wrong and it might be just 3) before it actually becomes law and then a few more years (2, I think) to comply. So, do not expect the Swiss to rush buying gold in November, even if the referendum succeeds. Expect years of “feet dragging” and “watering down” the requirements.

      • rodney:

        You are on to something … It’s precisely because this could “be a trendsetter” that the implications go beyond Swiss borders. I cannot believe there won’t be a US official of some sort commenting on this sooner or later, of course advising a “No” vote.

        • Viator:

          More likely people are being made offers they can’t refuse. sympathetic NGOs are moving money to support propaganda, articles and comments are being planted in the media, and certain academics are receiving telephone calls and emails.

  • Calculus:

    He talks about Gold being double and triple counted etc. I think this is odds-on. Can you imagine the fireworks in the Gold market when the curtain is pulled back and the whole (investment) world realises the games that have been played. Could start to happen after the Swiss vote, or perhaps they’ll keep the whole sorry game going another 5 years but whatever the case the news will come out, it always does.

    This is one reason why I’m a buyer of Gold every month. Next buy will be on Monday.

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