Switzerland has a federal structure and a long tradition of direct democracy. The Swiss political and legal system offers a high level of legal certainty and is very stable. Swiss law is based on the civil law prevailing in Europe, however, Switzerland is not a member of the European Union and is therefore free of their woes.
A single family office is not subject to licensing under FinIA (Financial Institutions Act) if the family has “family ties” that meet the requirements of FinIA. (e.g. blood relatives, spouses etc). However, a single family office does need to abide by AML (Anti- Money Laundering) regulations.
A multi-family office managing funds for multiple parties may be subject to licensing as a portfolio manager under FinIA and the regulatory requirements of FinSA (Financial Services Act). If the family office is also managing fund structures it may need a license as a manager of collective assets under FinIA . If the family office acts additionally as a trustee then a trustee license is required in addition to the other licenses.
Switzerland provides foundations, especially philanthropic foundations that can benefit from a tax exemption if they meet certain conditions.
Family offices can tap into a broad range of sophisticated and regulated professional and business services and infrastructures. A stable and robust banking system with many banks using APIs, a large number of private banks as well representatives of major international banks are available. An ample number of highly-skilled and internationally-experienced family office professionals are available throughout Switzerland and foreign nationals are able to work in Switzerland as well.
Applying for a resident permit for foreign professionals from within the EU/EFTA to live and work in Switzerland is straightforward and no quotas apply. Foreign professionals from outside the EU/EFTA ("third-country nationals") can also obtain a permit to live and work in Switzerland, but in these cases the potential employer is first required to prove that there were no sufficiently qualified and competent persons available in Switzerland or the EU to fulfil the specific role. The lump sum tax regime allows HNW individuals to receive a residence permit by reason of fiscal interest, but instead of a required investment, an annual tax amount is charged. Investment visas also available, subject to various conditions.