Banks in Switzerland

The first Banks in Switzerland started in Geneva before the Napoleonic wars. The banks in Switzerland helped the French kings to finance the colonial wars in North America and Canada against the United Kingdom. The managed the war budget. The colonial wars were very expensive and were conducted over a long period time.

The Swiss banking industry evolved from the simple merchant activities to more complex banking activities with international exposure. Since the beginning banks in Switzerland were very secretive with client information and confidentiality. Disclosing confidential bank information belonging to the client was considered a criminal offence.  

Finally, in 1934, the Swiss banking secrecy was codified into a formal law, the Federal Law of Banks and Savings Banks. If a Swiss banker disclosed client information to third parties he risked a severe punishment with until 6 months imprisonment combined with monetary fines.

Banks in Switzerland were considered the inventor of Bank Secrecy and Client confidentiality. Since the end of WWII Banks in Switzerland become famous for being the most important financial offshore centre in the world and one of the most reliable tax havens.

Swiss bank secrecy can be compared with the secrecy rules used for medical doctors, priests and lawyers.

How deep the culture of Swiss bank secrecy is anchored inside the population can be evidenced by the following facts:

Since 1934 Banks in Switzerland had only four cases of violation of Swiss bank secrecy by: 

  • Christoph Meili with the Holocaust money scandal in 1997,
  • Bradley Birkenfeld 2007 when he cooperated with the US Department of Justice,
  • Rudolf Elmer and
  • Hervé Falciani 2014 with HSBC.

According to the last estimations published by the Swiss Bankers Association 2019, Banks in Switzerland are managing 7.3 trillion in assets. 27% of them are so called cross-border offshore assets help for non-resident clients.

What means Swiss Private Bank?

Swiss Private Bank is a Swiss Bank offering private banking services. Private banking services means that you have a dedicated Swiss Private Banker taking care on your needs and expectations. If you like to discuss your offshore investments you will have the exclusive comfort that a dedicated banker will take care of you.

As private wealth management cannot be offered without a wide diversification of your offshore investments, you need a substantial amount for ensuring a professional and secure asset management. 

Are banks in Switzerland still private?

Swiss bank secrecy has triggered a few misconceptions among the public because of spy movies and other Hollywood movies. Banks in Switzerland were listed on the top of the Financial Secrecy Index

Today, the number one country with the best bank secrecy is the USA. Because of the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI)and Common Reporting Standard (CRS)imposed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, better known as the OECD, and Swiss bank secrecy is not applicable anymore for tax reasons. Beside taxation, the Swiss bank secrecy still exists for confidentiality and privacy reasons or protection.

Because of the excellent AAA country credit rankingSwitzerland remains as the best place for global asset protection. If you are looking for the best private bank to invest your money doing offshore investments, you should consider the safety of the specific bank but also the country ranking of the offshore jurisdiction. By choosing Switzerland you already made the best choice for global asset protection. 

Private Swiss bank 

We made a Swiss Private Bank Guide listing all existing Banks in Switzerland offering private banking services. Such a list never existed before. We listed a little bit more than 100 banks mentioning each single Private Swiss Bank offering private wealth management services.

Here you can find the most important ratios to measure the safety of a Private Swiss Bank.

If you are looking for Swiss Private Banks ranking for AuM(Assets under Management) you will become a first idea on how many assets are managed by a Private Swiss Bank.

If you will check the number of employees on our Private Swiss Bank Directoryyou can compare how careful a bank is managing the client’s assets. If too many assets are managed by a single employee, this can be an indicator that very few people are responsible for too many assets under management.

There are other important facts and figures on our Private Swiss Bank Guide which can be of tremendous interest for a non-resident and potential client of a Private Swiss Bank.

Foreign investors interested in asset protection for their offshore investments will consider the degree of capitalisation of a Private Swiss bank. They want to know if there is sufficient capital of a Private Swiss Bank to cover potential liabilities. The name of that indicator is the Tier one Capital Ratio of a Private Swiss Bank.

Offshore Bank Account

If you want to open your offshore bank account you should carefully consider the above safety factors of your bank of choice. Beside the Bank, the right choice of a secure country for secure banking services depends on the right selection of the banking jurisdiction.

The country for your Offshore Bank Account should have an excellent credit rating with a stable government offering stability and constant economic growth.

How do offshore bank accounts work?

Which country is the best for offshore banking?

Good examples for stable countries tailor-made for your offshore investment are Monaco, Singapore and Switzerland. They offer a stable environment for your Offshore Bank Account.

Banks in Switzerland have become more transparent than ever before. The automatic exchange of information forced the Swiss banks to more transparency with the pricing of their clients. The European Union exercised a tremendous pressure on Switzerland.

Non transparent pricing structures and remuneration schemes, conflicts of interests, kick-backs and other negative circumstances have been rendered much more difficult today.

Are offshore bank accounts illegal?

Offshore banking is 100% legal but hiding offshore investments is not. You have to accomplish your reporting obligations according to your jurisdiction at home.

Let me give you an example showing a tax reporting obligation.

US investors have to do the FBAR filing and report the accounts by filing a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) on FinCen Form 114 and Form 8398.

Offshore banking is not for tax evasion or money laundering. Offshore banking today means diversifying your offshore investments for political and economic risk diversification. You want to invest a part of your wealth in the strong Swiss Franc, for example. All banks in Switzerland are offering multi-currency accounts for currency diversification.

The best Banks in Switzerland accepting non-resident clients are offering the specific country reporting forms. The IT system of the Private Swiss Bank will calculate the capital gain, the dividends and the interest generated with your Offshore Bank Account. They created specific forms according to the tax regime in the specific country of residence.

Private Swiss banks are famous for their IT systems. Before opening an Offshore Bank Account a non-resident clients should ask the private Swiss banks if specific tax forms for the home jurisdiction of permanent tax residence are available.

The Private Swiss Bank is fully aware of the tax reporting obligations of their foreign clients. Good banks have appropriate forms ready for easy tax compliance. You offshore investment should be 100% legal. Swiss banks have already recognised the tax reporting needs of non-resident offshore investors.

We help you to find the best Bank in Switzerland for your offshore investments. You should carefully select the bank to safely deposit your liquidity. We are happy to choose a top Swiss Private Bank offering a solid capitalization.

We advise you to engage an external asset manager. We will help you to find a Best-in-Class asset manager who delivers results based on a war-proven track record. The advantage of an external asset manager consists in eliminating conflict of interest situations at source and paying less. Due to the big amount of assets under management with the independent asset manager you will benefit from his institutional pricing. Asset management services will cost you 20% to 30% less by engagement of a successful external asset manager.  

Do not accept the standard terms and conditions offered by your Swiss bank. Try to negotiate a preferential treatment. Negotiate an all-inclusive pricing based on the asset on the management.

How much costs private wealth management in Switzerland?

Example for a fair all-inclusive pricing:

If you have 10 million USD to invest, a fair all-inclusive pricingshould be ca. 1% from the assets under management per year (0,2% banking fee, 0,8% asset management fee).

Avoid any transaction based pricing structures. In most of the cases, you will pay less based on an all-inclusive fee per year calculated based on the amount of assets under management.

Here are our asset protection services:

  • We help non-resident clients to find the best Swiss bank.
  • We help negotiating fair banking and asset management fees.
  • We will introduce you to the bank and a Best-in-Class asset manager.
  • We will monitor the performance of the Swiss bank and Swiss asset manager.
  • We will report every quarter on the ongoing relationship.


We will share the asset management fee with the asset manager. This will be our compensation for our introduction services to bank and asset manager and our constant monitoring services.

If something will go wrong we will take action defending your interests and protecting your wealth. We will be here for you also after the offshore bank account opening procedure. You will be in safe and experienced hands. Before starting my boutique law firm, I was the CEO of the Swiss Asset Management Association (SAAM). We know the Swiss private banking industry since 30 years.

If you consider starting with your offshore investments and global asset protection, take your mobile phone and dial: +41 44 212 44 04 or write an email to

Let us act as your asset protector. Your global assets should be well protected.