Interview with GIUSEPPE MACALUSO FROM CAPITAL TRUSTEES
Capital Trustees is a professional Swiss trust company specialized in trust set-up and administration, and it is a longstanding member of the Swiss Association of Trust Companies (SATC), a high-end professional organization committed to the development of the trust industry in Switzerland. Its practice complies with the strict organizational, financial, and risk-management standards introduced by the Financial Institutions Act (FinIA), which regulates trustees’ activities in Switzerland and prescribes their supervision through the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).
The firm is independent and unbound by any exclusive partnerships. Thanks to this lack of ties with any banking or financial group, it can provide the most appropriate services on a case-by-case basis without incurring in conflicts of interest. In particular, since the company doesn’t offer asset management services, it can cooperate with the most qualified asset managers operating on the market.
Its professionals are highly qualified at all levels and the firm can rely on a team of multilingual international lawyers and accountants, who advise clients from all over the world on estate planning matters.
With the increasing complexity of the international tax and legal systems, clients with global needs, particularly those with American ties, appreciate Capital Trustee’s ability to offer round and comprehensive consultancy that goes beyond trusts’ set-up and administration; providing support also with international relocation and tax related issues.
Capital Trustees’ trust practitioners are all qualified TEP and members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), the widely reckoned and sole international professional association for trustees, where some of them actively serve the association through the organization of educational initiatives of global interest on current estate planning topics.
Also thanks to these activities, the firm has built strong relationships with international professionals, becoming a point of reference for leading family offices, consultants, asset managers, as well as Tax & Law Firms.
I personally represent the first line of management of this organization and I am proud to effectively lead its development, bringing into its activities and strategic vision my extensive experience in the industry.
What are the drivers for companies and private clients’ relocation to Switzerland?
As widely known, Switzerland is praised for its high quality of life, together with its political and economic stability and advanced financial system focused on client-oriented services. Thanks to its clear regulatory framework and competitive tax system, the country provides a fertile ground for entrepreneurs and companies. Furthermore, the safety of its environment and the excellent healthcare and education systems make it a very desirable destination for families too.
Following the increase in public and private investments in the development of the Swiss tech industry, Switzerland is also becoming home to a growing number of tech entrepreneurs with innovative business models, allowing the country to be ranked as the most innovative in the world according to the Global Innovation Index.
This rapid digital development is positively impacting the banking and financial sector, creating a robust innovation-driven ecosystem.
Finally, when US persons move to Switzerland they will find some similarities between the two countries, starting from their confederate systems, a breath-taking variety of cities and natural landscapes, top-tier schools, strong private health industries, and multicultural environments open to international movements. Moreover, they will be able to benefit from a broad range of high-end services characterized for their confidential and multicultural approach, backed by a reliable and regulated system.
What should US clients be aware of when moving to Switzerland?
Whether a US person moves to Switzerland for business or personal reasons, he should be aware that there are friendly but precise requirements to be met.
Expats will need to consider for example the administrative procedures to obtain residence permits, licenses or health insurance plans. In particular, Americans that consider staying on Swiss territory for more than three months, after obtaining a Visa will need to apply for an L Permit (for short-term residence and tied to a specific job or company) or a B Permit (temporary or initial residence). After living in Switzerland with the B Permit for ten years, it will be possible to apply for a Permanent Residence Permit (C Permit).
In order to navigate smoothly through these tasks; it would be advisable for them to seek advice from an experienced Swiss professional, which will know how to address any issue quickly and effectively.
In particular, US persons might need to assess legal and tax implications of their relocation, and should do so by consulting with a local practitioner before their movement in order to anticipate possible adverse consequences and exploit favorable opportunities. For instance, in many cases US expats will be eligible for lump-sum taxation schemes through a tax ruling, and could further optimize their tax positions by implementing wealth-planning structures such as pre-immigration trusts.
What do the Swiss trust sector and trustees offer US clients?
Swiss professional trustees operate in a highly regulated framework and are subject to prudential supervision by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).
As a result of FinIa (the Financial Institutions Act), which entered into force on 1st January 2020, trustees that reach certain thresholds relating to revenues, asset under management or number of managed trusts, will in fact need to obtain a license in order to operate in the sector.
Specifically, the new regulation demands sophisticated organizational and risk-management structures, adequate assurance of irreproachability and financial soundness, as well as high technical knowledge and competences.
These measures have been implemented with the aim to provide solid guarantees and more transparency to the public, casting Switzerland at the forefront of the international trust industry.