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Old 12.03.2007, 17:00
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Opening a Swiss Bank Account

Hi guys,

I'm from the UK, and have a couple of questions concerning Swiss Banks. I've been googling for some time now, and came across this site, but I still haven't managed to find the answers I'm looking for, so I hope someone can help me.

Basically, I've read up on the Swiss Bank Secrecy Laws, and from what I can gather, it seems as if the Swiss still hold their secrecy regulation (it's still in the law), but that if you're an EU resident, then there is a withholding tax on interest earned. The only exception is UBS and CS have agreed to exchange information with the US IRS. Is that right? I.e. will they not exchange information with the UK government?

What I'd like to know is, can a UK resident open a Swiss Bank account without going down to Switzerland itself? And will this money remain purely private?

Thanks guys.
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Old 12.03.2007, 17:04
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Re: Opening a Swiss Bank

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Hi guys,

I'm from the UK, and have a couple of questions concerning Swiss Banks. I've been googling for some time now, and came across this site, but I still haven't managed to find the answers I'm looking for, so I hope someone can help me.

Basically, I've read up on the Swiss Bank Secrecy Laws, and from what I can gather, it seems as if the Swiss still hold their secrecy regulation (it's still in the law), but that if you're an EU resident, then there is a withholding tax on interest earned. The only exception is UBS and CS have agreed to exchange information with the US IRS. Is that right? I.e. will they not exchange information with the UK government?

What I'd like to know is, can a UK resident open a Swiss Bank account without going down to Switzerland itself? And will this money remain purely private?

Thanks guys.
If you have enough money to invest you can ring them up and they will either fly you over or fly a relationship manager over to meet you, question really is if you have enough to interest them. So how much is enough - 1 Mio is enough to get their interest to open an account 5 Mio+ and they will fly someone over to see you - note I am talking liquid funds here and not net worth.
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Old 12.03.2007, 17:39
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Re: Opening a Swiss Bank

You may as well drop it in the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, no?
Same effect, same EU withholding tax, speaka da Inglish, and will give you the time of day with less than 6 figures...
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Old 12.03.2007, 17:42
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Re: Opening a Swiss Bank

You can open a non-resident account if you turn up at a branch with your passport. UBS wants a minimum of 50kchf balance over the first year, and for that you will get zippo interest and a bank card that only allows you to take out cash in Switzerland.

As regards secrecy: unless there is clear evidence that the money deposited is from criminal sources ("know your customer") then they are unlikely to divulge details to outside authorities.

If the UK authorities or whoever get wind of your account though they will fit the thumbscrews until you confess. The most likely source of such information would be an ex partner.

dave

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If you have enough money to invest you can ring them up and they will either fly you over or fly a relationship manager over to meet you, question really is if you have enough to interest them. So how much is enough - 1 Mio is enough to get their interest to open an account 5 Mio+ and they will fly someone over to see you - note I am talking liquid funds here and not net worth.
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Old 12.03.2007, 18:31
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Re: Opening a Swiss Bank Account

From my research I would go to the Channel Isles if you are not doing anything dodgy the rates are better. But as posted before depends on the amounts you are talking about, if you did have 1 to 5 million I dont think you would need to be asking questions on a forum like this.

Me I do have a Swiss account but put all my savings in the Channel Isles.


Regards DC
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Old 12.03.2007, 23:04
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Re: Opening a Swiss Bank Account

Hombi

I don't think anyone can manage to save 5 million these days by asking lots of questions to lawyers and accountants. Those ****ers charge thousands for information anyone could get for free on the web!!. I must have saved a 5 figure amount myself over the last couple years by looking up chat and legal websites.

If privacy is a concern I would suggest Singapore, bank secrecy and no EU savings tax directive, but accounts usually must be opened in person.

I would avoid CS and UBS like the plague, they both have significant business in the US and the UK and the latter use that as leverage to get what they want. CS and UBS loot your account if the US government ask them to do so. A cantonal or small private bank are better for privacy. Private banks Julius Baer, Vontobel and the like are more exclusive, classier than CS/UBS but they might ask for 1 million opening balance.

Cantonal banks ask just 10,000 CHF I think. They also allow opening by post.

As an american resident I wouldn't go to the Channel Islands, they exchange information with the IRS. No idea if they send information to IR.

An european friend of mine here in Miami has Swiss accounts in the name of his illegal south american maid. No EU savings tax

Last edited by Manolo; 12.03.2007 at 23:14.
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Old 13.03.2007, 09:11
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Re: Opening a Swiss Bank Account

Manolo, you are wrong. Private clients of the Swiss banks are protected by many things as long as the AML/KYC is done properly.

For example, no customer data will be available typically outside geographical Switzerland and....Switzerland does not allow extradition based on financial grounds IIRC.

If you're filthy rich, you can still get a "numbered" account but you're still subjected to KYC and AML checks.
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Old 13.03.2007, 10:16
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Re: Opening a Swiss Bank Account

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Switzerland does not allow extradition based on financial grounds IIRC.
That's certainly the case for Swiss nationals, don't know about foreigners though.
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Old 13.03.2007, 10:28
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Re: Opening a Swiss Bank Account

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I would avoid CS and UBS like the plague, they both have significant business in the US and the UK and the latter use that as leverage to get what they want. CS and UBS loot your account if the US government ask them to do so. A cantonal or small private bank are better for privacy. Private banks Julius Baer, Vontobel and the like are more exclusive, classier than CS/UBS but they might ask for 1 million opening balance.

Manolo, are you aware of the "Qualified Intermediary" status, W-9 form, and implications thereof?
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Old 13.03.2007, 12:36
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Re: Opening a Swiss Bank Account

lob, shorrick:
This is straight from my Lawyer, I paid for this: "for a US person, citizen or resident, the legal and tax consequences of keeping money under his/her own name in a swiss acct, specially in CS-UBS, are ultimately the same as keeping it in a US acct"
so forget about privacy and seizure protection even if not breaking any law, complying with aml/kyc or filling a thousand arcane forms.
For europeans it's not as bad yet afaik.
For geezer: you should consider opening corporate accts through panama or liechtenstein foundations. they're the best for confidentiality. There are other options.
Outside Switzerland, I mentioned Singapore, Panama is good too but they speak spanish. Austria is very private but they charge EU savings tax. They are all more "secret" than CH.
You can combine, for example, an austrian account opened by a panama foundation is very very secret and doesn't pay any EU tax.
In CH choose cantonal or private banks. Numbered accts are available in CH for 200K CHF opening, not just for the filthy rich. But I don't see they have any advantage.

There are many options the best depends on how much you got and how you plan to spend it.
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Old 13.03.2007, 14:19
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Re: Opening a Swiss Bank Account

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lob, shorrick:
This is straight from my Lawyer, I paid for this: "for a US person, citizen or resident, the legal and tax consequences of keeping money under his/her own name in a swiss acct, specially in CS-UBS, are ultimately the same as keeping it in a US acct"
Actually, there is nothing that makes CS/UBS worse or better than the others. You have to declare yourself as a US/non-US investor regardless of the bank (form W-9).

Should you choose not to declare under form W-9, then you can avoid withholding taxation on income, interest and sales proceeds by avoiding to invest in US securities. Up to you to see how you can get money out of the US without the IRS noticing a sudden decrease in your taxable wealth.

The bank (no, not even UBS/CS) will not disclose account holder information of its own accord, unless ordered to do so by a judge.

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so forget about privacy and seizure protection even if not breaking any law, complying with aml/kyc or filling a thousand arcane forms.
Not exactly true.

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For europeans it's not as bad yet afaik.
No, but it gets there really fast, with the withholding tax of 35% coming online shortly.

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In CH choose cantonal or private banks. Numbered accts are available in CH for 200K CHF opening, not just for the filthy rich. But I don't see they have any advantage.
All accounts are "numbered" in the sense that they have a reference number... but if you are thinking "numbered" in the sense of someone walking into a bank saying "I want to access account 123'456" with a NAV of 200k, I have yet to hear about that. Perhaps I should check the Internet more often; the three large banks I've been involved with so far definitely do not do it.
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Old 13.03.2007, 14:26
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Re: Opening a Swiss Bank Account

Numbered account that have been anonymised still exist. Numbered accounts without any KYC/AML checks should not exist and audit functions within the Swiss banks should find such accounts.

Manolo as a US citizen, you're stuck with having to declare to the IRS. Ho-Hum.
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Old 13.03.2007, 14:28
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Re: Opening a Swiss Bank Account

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Numbered account that have been anonymised still exist. Numbered accounts without any KYC/AML checks should not exist and audit functions within the Swiss banks should find such accounts.
What exactly do you call "numbered" Lob?

My UBS retail account has a number too...

From the Swiss Bankers Association :
Quote:
What about "numbered" accounts?
The procedure for opening a “numbered” account is exactly the same as for
any other type of account. The bank must verify your identity and establish
the identity of the beneficial owner. “Numbered” accounts are certainly not
anonymous! With a “numbered” account your business within the bank is
carried out not under your name but under a number or code. This is
simply an internal security measure to restrict knowledge of the customer's
identity to a small group of employees in the bank and apart from this a
“numbered” account enjoys no additional privileges in terms of
confidentiality
In my limited experience I haven't seen institutions deviating from that yet.
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Old 13.03.2007, 14:36
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Re: Opening a Swiss Bank Account

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What exactly do you call "numbered" Lob?

My UBS retail account has a number too...

From the Swiss Bankers Association :


In my limited experience I haven't seen institutions deviating from that yet.
unnamed and numbered. The kind where you speak to one Client Advisor and one only.

Of course many high net-worth clients use these as a status symbol IMO.

Those are the same rich folk who for example can park on those two UBS spots outside 45 Bahnhofstrasse and not get towed or ticketed.
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Old 13.03.2007, 14:44
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Re: Opening a Swiss Bank Account

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Actually, there is nothing that makes CS/UBS worse or better than the others.
The bank (no, not even UBS/CS) will not disclose account holder information of its own accord, unless ordered to do so by a judge.
No, it doesn't work that way. It's not that CS/UBS will report the IRS every US passport holder opening an account in CH. It's more like this: the americans just call and say "a US court has ordered US citizen Shorrick Jones accounts to be frozen due to some bs lawsuit, we don't even know if he's guilty. Anyway, could you look it up if he has an account there?" CS-UBS will answer inmediately YESSS MY MASTER.

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All accounts are "numbered" in the sense that they have a reference number... but if you are thinking "numbered" in the sense of someone walking into a bank saying "I want to access account 123'456" with a NAV of 200k, I have yet to hear about that. Perhaps I should check the Internet more often; the three large banks I've been involved with so far definitely do not do it.
That's why I'm telling you guys to dump the large banks. Small private banks are not such aml/kyc nazis. And they are not obvious places to kep money. A numbered account means that your personal information can be accessed within the bank only by a couple of officers. That's all. It's not anonymous at all.
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Old 13.03.2007, 14:48
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Re: Opening a Swiss Bank Account

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Manolo as a US citizen, you're stuck with having to declare to the IRS. Ho-Hum.
Im EU and terminating my US residence by june. Moving to CH by the end of the year.
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Old 13.03.2007, 14:49
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Re: Opening a Swiss Bank Account

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That's why I'm telling you guys to dump the large banks. Small private banks are not such aml/kyc nazis. And they are not obvious places to kep money. A numbered account means that your personal information can be accessed within the bank only by a couple of officers. That's all. It's not anonymous at all.
Yeah, a couple officers, a couple folk from the account opening department, a couple folk from the transfers department, a couple folk from compliance...

Many more than people would actually think. Not really that different from the big banks.
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Old 13.03.2007, 14:58
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Re: Opening a Swiss Bank Account

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unnamed and numbered. The kind where you speak to one Client Advisor and one only.

Of course many high net-worth clients use these as a status symbol IMO.

Those are the same rich folk who for example can park on those two UBS spots outside 45 Bahnhofstrasse and not get towed or ticketed.
I don't understand how numbered accts can possibly be status symbols if you can't tell anyone about it. Only in the movies I guess. Personally I think there are better options for privacy, anonimity and profitability.
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Old 13.03.2007, 15:09
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Re: Opening a Swiss Bank Account

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That's why I'm telling you guys to dump the large banks. Small private banks are not such aml/kyc nazis. And they are not obvious places to kep money. A numbered account means that your personal information can be accessed within the bank only by a couple of officers. That's all. It's not anonymous at all.
That's quite an offensive post. You obviously know nothing about why KYC and AML exist; nothing about the role the EBK has and perhaps did not hear about Basel II, Sarbanes Oxley, etc. Compliance, Legal, Security - these are all functions within all Swiss banks.

If you have nothing to hide, where's the issue?
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Old 13.03.2007, 15:29
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Re: Opening a Swiss Bank Account

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That's quite an offensive post. You obviously know nothing about why KYC and AML exist; nothing about the role the EBK has and perhaps did not hear about Basel II, Sarbanes Oxley, etc. Compliance, Legal, Security - these are all functions within all Swiss banks.
If you have nothing to hide, where's the issue?
Switzerland has been bullied into compliance of all those regulations. Swiss people understand how important is bank secrecy as part of their personal liberty and economic future, and they have accepted those laws reluctantly and under coercion.

They know that less liberty does NOT bring more security, as US-UK nazis want us to believe.

Obviously you think that financial privacy is somthing inmoral and only for criminals. Well you're wrong.

Financial privacy and bank secrecy are crucial requirements for enforcing property rights in a free market society.

I will skip any further discussion as this will quickly degenerate into a Libertarian vs Socialist/Statist/Big brother political fight.
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