Swiss Private Banks Accept End Of Bank Secrecy For Tax Evasion

Swiss private bankers will in future insist that their clients are tax compliant, if remarks made by banking heads at a private banking conference in Zurich are anything to go by.

According to some estimates, Switzerland holds around a third of the $7 million believed to be held in offshore accounts worldwide. In addition to a reputation for reliable banking services, Switzerland’s strict bank secrecy is what has compelled so many to open offshore bank accounts in the country.

But attacks on Swiss bank UBS, double-taxation treaties with other european countries like France, and reinterpretations of the line between tax evasion and tax fraud, mean that top swiss private banks are reconsidering the way they do business.

Pierre de Weck, head of Deutche bank private wealth management, indicated that his banks efforts would increasingly focus onshore, saying, “Cross-border onshore accounts will become much more important in the
years ahead.”

Exactly how the cross-border onshore account will differ from the offshore account I guess we will see, but that the accounts should be 100% tax compliant seemed to be most important.

The heads of Credit Suisse and Julius Baer, two of Switzerland’s largest banks that also have offshore operations were indicating the same thing in as many words. ””Banking secrecy will continue to exist, but not for tax reasons.
Private banks will have to offer services on a fully compliant basis.”, said Boris Collardi, chief executive of Julius Baer.

Yet separately, private banks which limit their operations to within Swiss borders have been praised for their efforts to maintain bank secrecy. Unlike the global private banks mentioned above, Switzerland’s oldest bank, Wegelin has indicated it will no longer accept US clients, in order to preserve bank secrecy even in tax cases.

Source: Wealth Bulletin

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