1973 - 1988

Information technology begins to revolutionize banking, driving significant improvements in productivity

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

Switzerland and the world


SBC establishes the Spezialfinanzierungen AG, Basel, and the SBC Finance (Asia) Ltd. in Hong Kong.

The free floating US Dollar spells the end of the Bretton Woods currency system. As a result the value of the US Dollar falls steadily against other major currencies.

Car-free Sunday

Oil experiences a very substantial price increase (first oil crisis).

Mobile Phone

John F. Mitchell using the Portable Radio Telephone

The first handheld mobile phone is made commercially available.

Vinton Cerf

Vinton Cerf

Development of the Ethernet as the first rudimentary form of network connectivity. Development of the Internet and Transmission Control Protocols by U.S. computer scientist Vinton Cerf.


SBC opens a branch in Singapore.

Union Bank opens its first branch on Wall Street in New York.

Union Bank opens its securities subsidiary Union Bank of Switzerland (Securities) Ltd., in London.

The ECU (European Currency Unit) is created.

Following the occupation of Saigon by the Vietcong the South-Vietnamese government capitulates, bringing an end to the Vietnam War.

Bill Gates

Bill Gates

Bill Gates co-founds computer software company Microsoft.


Swiss banks, including Union Bank and SBC, join the Eurocheque system.


The first launch of the Concorde (with crew)

Concorde, a supersonic passenger airliner, enters into service.


Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak create a microprocessor computer board called Apple I.


SBC connects to SWIFT, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.

Paine Webber acquires Mitchell Hutchins, a leading equity research firm.

O'Connor & Associates ("O'Connor") is founded as private partnership to trade equity options on US exchanges.

In response to the 'Chiasso affair' the Swiss banking community adopts the "Agreement on the Observance of Care by the (Swiss) Banks in Accepting Funds and on the Practice of Banking Secrecy".

Elvis Presley

Elvis, 1977
Elvis, 1977

Elvis Presley, the 'King of Rock and Roll', gives his last ever concert.

Star Wars, the first of the epic space film series, reaches movie theatres.


Fire in Basel

Disaster strikes at SBC's head office in Basel

A large part of the main building of SBC's headquarters at Aeschenvorstadt in Basel is destroyed by fire in December.


SBC sets up a branch in Hong Kong.

Branch in Singapore

Singapore in the early 70s.

Union Bank establishes a branch in Singapore and its securities subsidiary Union Bank Securities Inc., in New York.

The European Monetary System (EMS) is created.

Soviet troops occupy Afghanistan.


SBC expands its terminal network to approximately 2,000 data stations, enabling all its Swiss branches to conduct teller transactions and payment traffic across the network.

Union Bank is the leading bank in Switzerland with assets of 77.5 billion CHF. SBC reports assets of 74.1 billion CHF.

Total Assets

Total Assets

Shareholders Equity

Shareholders Equity

Net Profit

Net Profit

Ted Turner launches Cable News Network (CNN).

The first online banking services are launched in the U.S.

Mount St. Helens

A catastrophic volcanic eruption occurs on Mount St. Helens, in the U.S.


The first ever employee volunteering project takes place for Union Bank trainees.


AIDS poster
AIDS poster

The HI-Virus that causes AIDS is identified as a disease of the human immune system.

Space shuttle Columbia begins its first orbital flight on 12 April. The U.S. space shuttle program continues until 2011.


To ensure the survival of the beleaguered Swiss watch industry, leading Swiss banks headed by SBC and Union Bank write off some 230 Million CHF in debt, and provide the reorganised watch consortium SMH (Société de Microélectronique et d'Horlogerie) with fresh capital.

Swatch Nicolas G. Hayek

The iconic Swatch watch is launched based on a design and brand by Nicolas G. Hayek.

Acid rain affects European forests

The acid rain debate ("Waldsterben" - dying forests) becomes an international issue.

The first ever personal computer is installed in a Swiss bank.


The Swiss Bank Corporation International Securities Inc., in New York -- the former Basel Securities Corporation, becomes a member of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Paine, Webber, Jackson & Curtis and Blyth Eastman Paine Webber, Inc. become Paine Webber Inc. which then becomes Paine Webber Group, Inc.


The delivery of the signatures, 1979

The "Bankeninitiative", an initiative in Switzerland to abolish Swiss bank client confidentiality, is rejected in a referendum by a majority of 73%.


Paine Webber, New York

Paine Webber, 1285 Avenue of the Americas, New York

Paine Webber Group, Inc. relocates its corporate headquarters from 140 Broadway to 1285 Avenue of the Americas, New York.

Mandatory third level social security plans are introduced in Switzerland, leading to growing institutional investment activities.


SBC Finance Ltd. in Asia establishes SBCI Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong.

SBC announces the construction of its own skyscraper, the Swiss Bank Tower, in New York. SBC moves to the new building in 1990.

S.G. Warburg fully acquires Akroyd & Smithers, the UK's top jobber at the time, Rowe & Pitman, one of the top three stockbrokers, and Mullens, for two hundred years the British government's broker.

Electronic banking

Electronic banking branch

The first electronic banking branch of Union Bank opens in Zurich.

Union Bank fully acquires London-based stockbroker Phillips & Drew.

Sponsor of sailing yacht "UBS Switzerland"

The "UBS Switzerland"

Union Bank is main sponsor of sailing yacht "UBS Switzerland", winner of the Whitbread-Round-the-World-Race.

The deregulation of financial markets known as the "Big Bang" takes place in London, causing a rapid liberalization of the securities markets and revolutionizing traditional financial structures in the City.

The importance of "off-balance sheet transactions" increases as financial innovations continue apace.

The core module of the Soviet space station starts its orbital journey, which lasts until 2001.


Disaster strikes the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine.

Reform and modernization of the Sovjet state

Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan at the Geneva Summit 1985

Mikhail Gorbachev begins the reform and modernization of the Sovjet state by means of Glasnost (transparency) and Perestroika (rebuilding).


Alongside dozens of other international banks, Union Bank and SBC engage in the financing of the Eurotunnel.

Union Bank employee numbers reach 20,779, of which 1,239 are based abroad, while SBC has 16,828 employees, of which 2,021 are based abroad.

In Australia, Potter Partners (founded as Ian Potter & Co. in 1936) and S.G. Warburg merge to become Potter Warburg.


Construction of Eurotunnel, 1990

In December, construction starts on the Eurotunnel to connect France and England by land.


As the first bank in Switzerland Union Bank creates the position of an environmental officer.

SBC's new headquarters in Basel

Hammering Man

SBC's new headquarters building on Aeschenplatz in Basel is completed with the statue of the "Hammering Man" by American artist Jonathan Borofsky in front of it.

SBC launches TicketCorner, the first bank in Europe to offer such a service.

The Swiss Options and Financial Futures Exchange (SOFFEX), the world's first electronic futures exchange, becomes operational.

Switzerland's penal code includes a new paragraph on insider trading.