Why choose Switzerland?
The Swiss finance and banking sector is both unique and extremely buoyant. Switzerland has long been considered the world’s leading financial centre for high net worth wealth management. Over the last few years, it has also earned itself a strong reputation for currency and raw materials trading and fund management.
Switzerland is politically and economically stable with a secure legal system, excellent financial services and a long tradition of private banking. These benefits underpin all sectors of the country’s finance industry: banking, insurance and independent wealth management.
Swiss people are known for their flexibility and pragmatism. They also boast competence in foreign languages, a central position in Europe, modern, reliable infrastructure and an ability to adapt to different cultures.
Swiss law prioritises freedom, privacy and individual property. The assets of foreigners are treated in exactly the same way as those belonging to Swiss nationals.
Banking and wealth management are protected by bank secrecy laws, as defined in Article 47 of the Federal Law on Banks and Savings Banks.
Bank secrecy is the obligation on a bank and its members not to divulge to third parties, including the state and in particular foreign nations, any information entrusted to them by the client nor any details of which they may become aware during their business relationships. This obligation is founded in both the contractual relationship between the bank and the client and privacy laws. Swiss law severely punishes any failure to comply.
Switzerland has withstood various depressions and financial crises, thanks, among other factors, to consistent growth based on wide diversification and strong domestic demand. It has a very low level of government debt, and is one of the last countries still holding a AAA rating. In addition, Switzerland has one of the world’s highest standards of living. It welcomes high net worth individuals wishing to relocate to the country with open arms.
It has an attractive corporate tax regime. In certain cantons, tax rates are very low (around 10%) and the country has signed numerous double taxation treaties.
Although it is not a member of the European Union, Switzerland works very closely with its neighbours under bilateral agreements. The Swiss franc, which has consistently risen in value over recent years, has a long-standing international reputation as a safe-haven currency.
All these factors combine to make Switzerland one of the countries best placed to offer financial and asset management services (private banking, family offices, etc.). A good family office will not only manage its clients’ wealth, it will work above all to safeguard it, especially if the clients live in unstable countries. Consequently, location is an important factor when choosing a family office. It needs to be based in a very politically and economically stable country offering a wide range of quality services and first-rate infrastructure.