Gnomes of Zurich


Also found in: Idioms.

Gnomes of Zurich

A pejorative term for bankers in Switzerland. They acquired this nickname because of their reputation for discrete and indeed secretive policies. Harold Wilson coined the term in 1956 when he was the British shadow chancellor of the exchequer and believed that Swiss bank speculators were artificially weakening the pound.
References in periodicals archive ?
This is not necessarily bad, some argue: at the helms of central banks, it is better to have the gnomes of Zurich than the kleptocrats of Kinshasa.
But the faceless gnomes of Zurich had other ideas and blew a hole in the hopes of those struggling to get a life by acquiring a home.
A nation of bankers, known as the Gnomes of Zurich, they keep most of the world's money stuffed in their vaults.
Perhaps the gnomes of Zurich are music lovers,' suggested Dreary Derek, who thinks Val Doonican is a bit of a tearaway, let alone the argumentative lads from Manchester.
High-pitched Ingerland chanting ahoy as our small boys take on the gnomes of Zurich.
The gnomes of Zurich and their exchange-bureau colleagues in railway stations give you the best rates and charge nil commission.