We’ve all heard a lot recently about the expected downfall of banking personal privacy in Switzerland. I’ve personally been gotten in touch with by lots of clients of UBS who have been alerted that their Swiss savings account are being closed because of the recent scandals in the US. Lots of clients unquestionably chose UBS thinking it was “too huge to stop working,” or possibly even if they had numerous sales representatives in the USA, not understanding that UBS was also “too huge and too exposed.”
UBS really explains itself on its website as “among the world’s leading financial firms” … and therein lies the issue! It’s not truly a Swiss bank at all … it’s a global bank much like JPMorgan or Citigroup.
All the indications are saying that Credit Suisse will have similar issues quickly too. If your cash remains in Credit Suisse, you have actually been cautioned! It’s too simple for foreign governments to put pressure on big worldwide banks to quit their tricks.
So what are you to do if you wish to bank in Switzerland? For starters, you could choose either one of those ultra-discreet personal banks. They are so discreet they do not have sites, they don’t even have their names outside their workplaces. But they are definitely a dying breed. Besides, they are exaggerated in my view – charging huge charges for service that as an advanced investor you most likely don’t require or desire. In the last couple of years lots of have actually been taken over by bigger banks like UBS and the big Swiss Private Bank Julius Baer.
A much better option in my view would be one of the Swiss Cantonal banks. These are banks owned by Swiss local governments (cantons) which implies they are both really strong, and extremely focused on their regional markets. They are good for three reasons:
- They don’t have too many abroad clients – that makes them less of a target in the first place for foreign federal governments.
- They frequently do not have any offices outside Switzerland – that makes it much harder to apply pressure on them
- Being related to the government gives them extra political clout.
Many little cantons have their own banks and the very best way to open accounts with them is to obtain on an airplane. If you seem like paying a sizeable cost for a referral, a company called Micheloud & Cie has made quite a service out of bank intros and is currently busy promoting Cantonal Bank accounts.
Among the bigger Cantonal banks, for instance, is Zuercher Kantonalbank, from Zurich. Here’s a link to ZKB’s Private Banking division, however the website is only in German. I’m sure they speak flawless Englis – however not having English language publicity on the internet is unquestionably a determined choice about the clients they are seeking. You probably require an excellent local recommendation and a sizeable deposit to obtain in the door, but this is the kind of Swiss bank you ought to be looking for if your objectives are personal privacy, class and good service at a reasonable cost.
Numerous Swiss banks, naturally, will not accept accounts from United States or EU residents at all. Who can blame them, given the current pressures. In this case it may be necessary (and a darn site much better personal privacy wise) to search for options outside Switzerland. Neighboring Liechtenstein is no longer preferable, considered that it is signing arrangements with the United States treasury and is dealing with a ‘swift agreement’ with UK tax authorities amongst others.
Austria is referred to as “where the Swiss go for private banking” and certainly Austrian banks have world class wealth management services. Nevertheless, their membership of the European Union could be an issue. Austria is also a great location to purchase gold bullion offshore.
Certainly I believe to discover genuine banking privacy today it is essential to go additional afield. Not a lot to particular countries, however to banks that realise that jurisdictional arbitrage is one way to improve their clients’ privacy. The contemporary store private bank will have highly certified personal lenders who are able to open accounts at subsdiary banks in a number of different jurisdictions. As an additional layer of both personal privacy and asset protection, overseas corporations and structures are always a helpful way of handling offshore accounts too.
Englishman former banker Mike Baur is an author and speaker on offshore finance, financial investment, due diligence and wealth production matters. After fifteen years recommending high net worth clients on offshore property protection structures such as business, trusts and personal interest structures, he decided on a profession change and now coaches people who have an interest in developing, preserving and growing wealth in a safe and secure offshore environment.