Switzerland prepares to end up with bank secrecy

This autumn, when Switzerland will push the button to send the information about offshore bank accounts to foreign tax agencies, the country will make something that has been considered as almost uncredible - the strictest secrecy that has been provided to cash holders in Geneva and Zurich will be refused.

Launching the automatic information sharing about accounts with other European countries is the last chapter of the saga which started with arresting ex-banker of UBS Group AG Bradley Birkenfeld in 2008. That story cost Swiss banks more than 6 billion dollars of penalties and it became the occasion for criminal investigations and entry bans for bankers.

From more than 80 financial institutions which appeared in the focus of the United States government including UBS, Credit Suisse Group AG and Julius Baer Group ltd., the last ones which will need to get the regulation of the U.S. Department of Justice will be Basler Kantonalbank и Zuercher Kantonalbank. Basler will pay $60.4 million while Zuercher agreed to pay $98.5 million. Both state banks admitted that they provided their clients with a support in hiding incomes and assets from the U.S. government. Pictet and Swiss department of HSBC Holdings plc. are still awaiting the regulation.

Zuercher Kantonalbank
Source: Swissinfo

Although banks stopped accepting assets which are not applicable for taxes, the ‘economic war’, as the main executive official of UBS Sergio Ermotti called it, did not deprive Switzerland the status of the attractive centre for wealthy world citizens investments at the end of the day. That also did not happen during a potential recession in 2012 as the economical institute KOF has warned that the Swiss economy could dive in.

Switzerland is still the worldwide centre for foreign asset management of wealthy clients, according to Deloitte and Boston Consulting Group research this year. BCD has determined the overall volume of such assets and it became $2.3 trillion which is twice as much as Hong Kong, the nearest rating participant.
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