1912 - 1928

Swiss banks seek opportunities in the U.S. market, with the rapid ascendance of the American economy

Swiss Bank Corporation (SBC)
Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS)

Switzerland and the world


Union de Banques Suisses

Bank in Winterthur and Toggenburger Bank merge to become Schweizerische Bankgesellschaft / Union de Banques Suisses/ Unione di Banche Svizzere. The English name of the bank Union Bank of Switzerland is introduced in 1921 (until then the bank was referred to as Swiss Banking Association).

Alphons Simonius-Blumer

Alphons Simonius-Blumer

SBC's Chairman, Alphons Simonius-Blumer and his successor, Max Staehelin, survive the Titanic tragedy while on a business mission to New York.

Telegram announcing Simonius' and Staehelin's survival

SBC reports total assets of 588 million CHF; shareholder equity of 109 million CHF and profits of 8.7 million CHF.

Total assets

Shareholder Equity

Net Profit

Union Bank of Switzerland (Union Bank) reports total assets of 202 million CHF, shareholder equity of 46 million CHF and profits of 2.4 million CHF.

Foundation of the Swiss Bankers Association (Schweizerische Bankiervereinigung).

Switzerland's "hard" currency combined with its political stability and international neutrality lay the foundation for the rise and success of its banking industry.

The Republic of China is established.

In Switzerland, the Jungfraubahn rack railway is inaugurated.

The launch of Titanic 1912

RMS Titanic sinks, taking with her the lives of more than 1,500 people.


Breakdown of the gold standard.

Panama Canal

The 82 km long Panama Canal opens.

The first World War breaks out

The first World War breaks out on 28 July.


Union Bank sets up a Pension Fund for its employees, 30 years before the introduction of the Federal Social Security Law (AHV) in Switzerland.

Union Bank opens its new building at Bahnhofstrasse 45, Zurich ("Münzhof"), today UBS's head office.


Revolution erupts in Russia and the Tsarist regime tumbles.

Charlie Chaplin "Modern Times"

Charlie Chaplin, the English comic actor, film director and composer of the silent film era, enjoys global popularity.


From 1918 Union Bank conducts all its Board of Directors meetings in Zurich.

Total assets

Shareholder Equity

Net Profit

End of World War I, general strike

World War I ends. Switzerland had remained neutral and politically stable during the war. However, at the end a general strike rocks the country, resulting in a number of casualties.

End of World War I, refugees

The German Republic is created following the abdication of the German Emperor, later to be known as the Weimar Republic.


Foundation of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia.

The Peace Treaty of Versailles

The Peace Treaty of Versailles is signed.

Assembly of the League of Nations

The League of Nations, forerunner of the United Nations, is founded with headquarters in Geneva.


SBC employs more than 2,000 people while Union Bank employs over 1,000.

Number of Employees

Union Bank acquires Banca Svizzera-Americana (founded in 1896), establishing a foothold in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland.

Traffic light

First traffic light worldwide installed in Detroit.


Le Locle, Switzerland

SBC celebrates its 50th anniversary. To mark the occasion, each of its 2,200 employees receives a Swiss pocket watch made by Zenith. The gift provides valuable support to the Swiss watch industry during its crisis in 1921, caused by a breakdown of exports to the United States.


Mussolini erects a fascist dictatorship in Italy.


Walt Disney

Walter Elias Disney with employees

In the United States, Walter Elias "Walt" Disney founds Walt Disney Productions.

Walter Elias Disney

Union Bank opens a branch in the Swiss capital of Berne.

Germany Hyperinflation

Hyperinflation hits Germany, resulting from war bonds and reparation payments, wiping out cash savings of the German population.


In New York, Dillon Read launches the first post-war closed investment fund. The firm's roots date back to 1832 when its antecedent, Carpenter & Vermilye, was founded.

Death of Lenin

Death of Lenin, first leader of the Soviet Union.

Alfred Joseph Hitchcock

Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, the British filmmaker and producer, enjoys his first success.

Hugo Boss launches his clothing company in Metzingen, a small town south of Stuttgart.