Gone are the days of secret numbered accounts and cloak-and-dagger banking practices. While only a small fraction of the Swiss banking industry, Swiss private banking once was viewed as catering to those seeking to evade taxes, that era came to an end in 2008 when the IRS cracked down on American tax avoiders. Swiss banks paid hefty fines, severed ties with US clients, and abandoned the business of serving Americans due to the burdensome compliance requirements imposed by FATCA.

FATCA, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, a unilateral US tax law aimed at curtailing potential tax evasion by US taxpayers, came into effect in 2013, ensuring that all foreign accounts and investments held by US taxpayers are disclosed by foreign banks. The implementation of FATCA entails high administrative and financial outlays for financial institutions and almost all of Switzerland’s banks opted out of serving American clients, as legitimate as their banking needs may be.

Some people think it is still this way today, but times have changed and a new environment for US clients has evolved.

...and after

Switzerland has transformed its approach and embraced transparency. With its long-standing political and economic stability, AAA-rating, and state-of-the-art financial services, Switzerland remains the global leader in private cross border wealth management. Swiss banks and independent asset managers manage a substantial portion of crossborder assets worldwide, making it a sought-after safe haven for investors, especially during times of volatility and uncertainty.

In response to a call from the United States Ambassador to Switzerland, some Swiss banks now welcome American expats to open and maintain Swiss bank accounts for regular banking activities. However, for asset management purposes, Swiss banks require involvement from Swiss SEC-registered investment advisors.

In times of heightened volatility and uncertainty, Switzerland is considered a safe haven for assets from investors around the world.

The Rise of Swiss SEC-Registered Investment Advisors

In the past, only a handful of Swiss wealth managers were registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as investment advisors. Today, that number has grown to around 50, with more to come. These Swiss SEC-registered wealth managers are focused on providing US private clients with international investment diversification while upholding the traditional Swiss values of reliability and personal service.

Swiss banks have adapted their operations to comply with FATCA, providing accurate bank statements for proper reporting of foreign financial accounts. They now work in tandem with Swiss SEC-registered wealth managers, who establish wealth management mandates with US clients. This collaboration allows US clients to leverage the expertise of Swiss wealth managers while keeping funds within the US, thereby avoiding the complexities associated with foreign bank accounts.

Swiss SEC-registered investment advisors come in various shapes and sizes, including large banks with US-focused affiliates, entities backed by Swiss private bank parent companies, family offices, and independent wealth managers. These advisors work closely with their clients on an individualized basis, offering personalized solutions that align with each client's unique circumstances and goals.

There have always been legitimate reasons for US persons to hold assets in Switzerland.

Unlocking the Benefits of Swiss Wealth Management

Jurisdictional diversification, reduced geopolitical risk, and access to globally-experienced wealth managers are among the many advantages sought by internationally savvy investors. Additionally, holding funds in Switzerland provides flexibility for those planning to move or retire abroad in the future.

To attract American clients, Swiss banks are sharpening their focus and intensifying their efforts. Swiss SEC-registered investment advisors, ranging from aggressive hunters to more conservative independent wealth managers, offer tailored wealth management solutions that prioritize long-term relationships and individually-designed strategies. These advisors have fiduciary obligations and prioritize their clients' interests and the independent wealth managers are are not bound by any in-house investments.

Gaining the attention of American clients

Accessing Swiss wealth management has never been easier. The AW+SWITZERLAND platform serves as a comprehensive directory of Swiss SEC-registered investment advisors and other service providers such as US tax advisors, lawyers, and Swiss trustees. Through AW+SWITZERLAND, clients can make direct contact with Swiss wealth managers and receive personalized e-introductions, ensuring a seamless and efficient process.

Americans are warmly welcomed into the world of Swiss wealth management. Whether you're an experienced investor or just starting out, Swiss SEC-registered investment advisors offer a range of options to cater to various investment levels. With the guidance of your chosen Swiss wealth manager, you can embark on your Swiss wealth management journey from the comfort of your own home.

Join the ranks of savvy investors who have discovered the benefits of Swiss wealth management. AW+SWITZERLAND is here to facilitate your journey, making it as effortless as possible to unlock the opportunities that Switzerland has to offer.

There’s simply not an easier way to get started in Switzerland.

Americans welcome!

The Swiss platform, AW+SWITZERLAND is a directory of the Swiss SEC-registered investment advisors and other Swiss service providers such as US tax advisors, lawyers, Swiss trustees and more. We are happy to make personal e-introductions to the Swiss wealth managers and others . There’s simply not an easier way to get started in Switzerland.

Publications are for your information only and are not intended as an offer, promotion, or solicitation to buy or sell any financial instrument or perform any other financial transactions. All information and opinions expressed in the publications reflect current views as of the date of publication and may be liable to change without notice.